Skip to main content

Full text of "Plutarch's Morals. Tr. from the Greek by several hands. Cor. and rev. by William W. Goodwin ... With an introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson"

See other formats







Vol. IV. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the 3'ear 1870, by 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at AVashington. 






By Robert Midgley, M.D., axd Coll. Med. Loxd. Cand. 

Two men, Demetrius of Tarsus, from England, and Cleombrotus the Lacedaemonian, 
from Egypt, meet at Delphi, 3. Their conversation about what Cleombrotus had 
seen and heard in Egypt, 4. He had visited the oracle of Jupiter Amnion, 4. A 
remarkable lamp there, which was never extinguished, though its supply of oil 
was lessened continually, 4-6. The conversation turns on oracles : why have most 
of the oracles, even in Greece, become silent 1 7. Formerly these oracles gave 
responses, 8. What responses were given, 8. Are responses now withheld, because 
of the great wickedness of the time "? 10. The gods are not inconstant or malev- 
olent, IL One cause may be found in the diminished population of Greece, 12. 
When there were more men, there were more responses, 12. God himself has not 
abolished divination, 13. God is not concerned in all human affairs, 14. There 
are beings, called Daemons, intermediate between Gods and men, 14. These 
Daemons were originally human beings, 14. They are not immortal, though 
Yery long-lived, 15. A mathematical computation of the possible length of a 
Daemon's life, 15-17. A Daemon resembles an isosceles triangle, 17. A Dae- 
mon compared to the moon, 17, 18. Daemons are employed by the gods as 
their agents and ministers in human affairs, particularly in matters of worship 
and religious ceremony, 18. Human sacrifices and cruel rites are required by 
malignant Daemons, 19. Combat between Apollo and the Dragon Python for 
the possession of the oracle at Delphi, 20. Daemons are appointed to have the 
care of oracles ; when the Daemons depart, the oracles must of course fail, 21. That 
Daemons may be mortal, proved by a story related by one of the company ; 
" The great god Pan is dead," 23. Another story, about the death in Britain of 
a Daemon, and the terrible storm that followed, 24. Opinions of the Stoics con- 
cerning Daemons, 24. Epicureans reject the idea of Daemons, and with it the 
Divine Providence, 25. Story of a stranger encountered by Cleombrotus in hi8 
travels, and what he said about Daemons and oracles, 26-28. The wars of the 
Titans were battles of Daemons with Daemons, 27. Daemons, though not gods, 
like to be called gods and honored as such, 28. How many worlds are there ? 
one hundred and eighty-three, ranged in the form of a triangle, 29. Homer saya 
there are five worlds, 30. Plato makes but one world, 28, 31. Probably there 
are several worlds, 31. Reasons for this opinion, 32. There is one supreme God, 
but many inferior gods, 31, 33. A plurality of worlds further discussed, 34, 86. 
A plurality of worlds does not involve the existence of a plurality of Jupiters, 86. 
An infinite number of worlds is a chimera : but a certain definite number is quite 
probable; and Jupiter may pass from one world to another, as occasion requires, 


to regulate its affairs, 3G-38. As there are five regular forms of solid bodies, 
there are probably five worlds, 38, 39. Objections to tliis opinion, 40. The 
opinion defended, 41,42. One, or unity; two, or duality, — are tlie supreme 
principles of all things, 42. One and two make three, an odd number ; three and 
two make five ; we reckon by fives, or by twice five ; all otlier numbers are pro- 
duced from these ; we have five senses, and five fingers ; the earth has five zones ; 
the heaven has five circles ; for these and similar reasons it is inferred that there 
are five worlds and no more, 42-47. The silence of the oracles is due to the fact 
that the Daemons wlio presided over them have departed, 47. But how did the 
Daemons exert their power over the oracles ? 47. If the Daemons, being hu- 
Dmn spirits disembodied, may foresee and foretell future events, why rway not 
human spirits, embodied, possess a similar power? 48, 49. Our souls certainly 
are endued b^'^ nature with this power, 50. This power exists in certain states or 
dispositions of the body, assisted and enforced by certain exhalations from the 
earth, 61, 52. Such an exhalation issues from the earth at Delphi and other 
places, 53. But these exhalations are subject to chnnges, caused by earthquakes, 
&c., 53, 54. From such causes the oracle may fail, 54. A story about an oracle 
in Cilicia, 55. Objections to the views now expressed, 56, 57. If the prophetic 
faculty be a natural endowment, why do we offer sacrifice to the gods, in order 
to obtain a response 1 57. Because all good comes from the gods ; altliough our 
' natural wit and reason may help in obtaining it, 58-60. Diviiiation is from God; 
it is also from wit and reason ; it is promoted by enthusiastic exhalations 
from the earth, 59. When all these things concur, the oracle gives responses; 
when any are wanting, the oracle is silent, 60-64. 


By William Baxter, Philaletiies. 

The knowledge of truth man's greatest blessing ; to be sought of the gods, 65. Isis 
the goddess of wisdom and knowledge, 66. What makes a true priest of Isis 1 67. 
Why do the priests of Isis shave their heads and wear linen garmet)ts ? 67. Why 
are those priests scrupulous about their food 1 68. Why is the bull Apis not 
watered from the Nile ? 68. Why do the priests of the Sun abstain from wine, 
or drink it sparingly ? 69. Why do the priests abstain from fish and from onions ? 
70. They do not sacrifice the swine, 71. They conceal their wisdom in enig- 
mas, 72. Hence the enigmas of Pythagoras, 72. Some of the Egyptian enigmas 
stated, 73. The tales rehated of the Egyptian gods not to be taken literally, 73. 
A story about the birth of Osiris, 71. Another about the birth of Isis and other 

i j deities, 75. The great actions of Osiris, 75. The manner of his death, 76. His 
wife Isis, her lamentations, 76-78. Her search for her husband, 77. Finds 
the body of Osiris, 78, 79. About Maneros, the foster-son of Isis, 79. The body 
of Osiris torn in pieces by Typhon, his murderer, and the members scattered 
about, 80. The members found and interred in many places, 80. War between 
Typhon and Ilorus, the son of Osiris, 80, 81. These stories not to be literally 
understood, 82. These gods were not kings and mighty men, 83. Semiramis, 
Sesostris, Cyrus, Alexander, were human beings, not deities, 85. Isis, Osiris, 
and Typhon, were not divine beings, nor human, but Daemons, an intermediate 
genus, 86. Such also were Saturn, the giants and Titans of the Greeks, 86. This 
notion is sanctioned by Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Xenocrates, and Empedocles, 86, 


87. Typhon was a malignant Daemon, 88. Isis and Osiris M-ere good Daemons, 
afterwards changed into gods, 88. Isis is the same as Proserpine ; Serapis is Tluto, 

88. Osiris is identical witli Serapis and with Bacclius, 89. Osiris is also identical 
with the bull Apis, 90. The Egyptians offer disrespect to Typiion, 91. They 
maltreat the ass and animals and men having red hair, because his hair was red, 91. 
According to some, Osiris is the Nile, and Typhon the sea ; explanation, 92. The 

VV\most learned hold Osiris to be the cause of generation, 91. Proofs that Osiris is 
the same as Bacchus, 95, 93. The Phallic rites, and how they originated, 96, 97. 
The Nile, and every thing humid, is the efflux of Osiris, and he is thus the cause 
of all tilings, 9G, 97. The country bordering on the Nile is the body of Isis, 98. 
•The conspiracy of Typhon explained, 99. The mourning of Isis, and her recovery 
of the body of Osiris explained, 100. Another explanation of Typhon, Osiris and 
Isis, the heavenly bodies, 101. The eclipse of the moon is the death of Osiris, 
lOi. Worship of the dog Anubis, 77, 101. Typhon stands for the principle or 
cause of evil, distress, and destruction, 105. The Magian or Persian doctrine of 
two original independent forces or powers ; one the source of light or good, the 
other of darkness and evil, lOG. These maintain an incessant struggle, 107. 
The final issue will be happy, 108. The same ideas are found among the Chal- 
deans and the Greeks, 108. These ideas .are found also among the Pythagoreans 
and in Plato, 109. Throughout nature we find the two discordant principles, which 
are represented by the names Osiris and Typhon, 109, 110. The hieroglyphics 
and rehgious rites which refer to these principles, 110-112. Isis is the feminine 
and productive property of Nature, 113. Ilorus, son of Isis, represents the world 
of mind, 114. He has a struggle with Typhon, 114, 115. The three constituents 
of the divine nature, 115. Illustrated by a triangle, 115. What Plato says of tlie 
production of love, 110, 117. Fables are doctrinal only in part, 117. The fable 
of Typhon further explained, 118. Supposed etymology of the words Isis, Osiris, 
Anubis, and others, 119-121. The sistrum, or timbrel, used at the feasts of Isis, 
121. Isis and Osiris produce whatever is orderly and beneficial ; Typhon is the 
cause of disorder and mischief, 122. These deities are not peculiar to Egypt ; 
all mankind have them, 123. We are not to rest in the letter of the accounts 
given of tliese gods, 124. Sun, moon, earth, fire, wind, water, are not gods, but 
elements wielded by the gods, and by which the gods exhibit and manifest them- 
selves, 124. We are to rise above the symbol to the thing symbolized, 125. 
We should not confound the true idea of God with the appearances and changes 
of external nature, 126, 127. The statues of the gods are not the gods, 128. 
The assumption of the forms of brute animals by the gods is not to be believed, 
129. Yet the idolatrous worship of the Egyptians had no better foundation 
than this belief, 129, 130. Some reasons assigned for brute worship, 131, 132. 
God is to be worshiped in Nature, not Nature instead of God, 134. The sacred 
vestments of Isis and Osiris ; their nature and use, 135. Purpose for which 
incense and perfumes are burnt, 136-139. 


By John Philips, Gent. 

Concerning those whom God is slow to punish." This subject is discussed 
between Plutarch and several of his relatives, Plutarch being the principal 
speaker. Epicurus had just left the company uttering invectives against the 
justice of the Deity in the government of the world, 140. It is admitted that the 



delay of d vine justice gives rise to perplexing thoughts, 141. Some of the 
objections are, — (I) Such delay seems to proceed from indifference on tlie part 
of the Deity to the desert of crime ; (2) Punislnnent long delayed fails to restrain 
the commission of crime, as a speedy retribution would do ; (3) It is often entirely 
useless as a reparation to those who have suffered from injustice; (4) It embold- 
ens the transgressor, 141 ; (5) It diminishes in many minds the belief of Divine 
Providence ; (G) Punishment long delayed fails of any good effect on the offender 
himself, 143. To what good purpose, then, do the millstones of the gods grind, 
when they grind so slowly ? 143. To these objections it is answered as follows . 
It becomes us to enter on such inquiries with great caution and self distrust, 
because our knowledge of God and of his ways is extremely narrow and imper- 
fect, 144. We are very incompetent judges of what it is fit for God to do, 144. 
God only knows when, and in what manner, and how much to punish, 144. Those 
who are ignorant of music or of military affliirs are not competent judges of 
those matters, 144. No one who is not properly trained can wisely administer 
human law, 145. The remissness of which complaint is made is true only in 
part, and is only apparent. So far as it is real, it may be vindicated by the fol- 
lowing considerations: (1) The Deity, by being .slow to punish, teaches us to 
moderate our anger, and never to punish in a passion, 146 ; He would lead us to 
imitate his own gentleness and forbearance, 147; (2) The wicked, in consequence 
of delay, have opportunity to repent, and are therefore spared from a desire of 
their reformation, 148 ; The summary justice, to wiiich the passions of men 
incite them, excludes all regard to this object, and degenerates into the mere 
gratification of malice and revenge, 148 ; The wisdom of the divine policy, so 
different from this, is fully justified by the results, since liistory records many 
instances where men who, in early life, were profligate, have afterwards reformed 
and become useful to society, 149, 150 ; (3) The wicked are often permitted to 
live and prosper, that Providence may by them execute its justice on others, of 
which instances are given, 151, 152 ; (4) The wicked are sometimes spared that 
a noble and virtuous posterity, proceeding from them, may bless the world, 152; 
(5) Punishment is sometimes deferred for a time that the hand of Providence 
may be more conspicuous in inflicting it, 153. But the objection against an over- 
ruling Providence, founded on the prosperity of the wicked, assumes too much ; 
the delay is apparent, rather than real, 154. Retribution follows hard on the 
steps of crime, in the shame, remorse, and inward suffering of the offender, 154. 
Many look with envy on wicked men who seem to enjoy high prosperity, while 
those men are soon to become involved in the deepest misery, 154. Wicked men 
suffer not a late but a long punishment ; they sufl^er all the time, 155. What we 
call delay, is not such to the Deity ; distinctions of time with him have no place, 
155. It is not the last moment of punishment which contains all the punish- 
ment, 155. God has the offender all the while in his power, and does not suffer 
him to rest, 156. Instances are given of remorse suffered by the guilty, 156, 157. 
Were death the extinction of our being, it might still be maintained that the 
Deity is not remiss in punishing crime, 157. The wicked find, even here, that 
no real good comes from their wickedness, 158. Self-condemnation, a dread of 
censure, a fear of death, embitter their lives, 159. One of the company now 
leads the conversation to a kindred subject, the question how the conduct of 
Providence can be justified in punishing children for the misconduct of their 
parents, of which several instances are quoted, 160, 161. To this it is replied: 
(1) Children often derive advantage from the virtue and piety of their fathers; 
it is not therefore strange that they should suflTer for their wickedness, 163, 164. 


(2) The law of cause and effect comes in here, as in other cases, though we may 
not fully explain it ; children often inherit the diseases of their parents ; the 
plague of Athens took its rise in far distant Ethiopia, 165. (3) The constitution 
of society binds one generation to another, and thus renders this retribution just, 
as well as inevitable ; every family, as well as every state, has a separate exist- 
ence, a personal identity of its own, and it is one and the same through succes- 
sive ages ; hence the social crime of one age may properly work out its legitimate 
results in another, 166-168. (4) In all cases, God deals with men according to their 
deserts ; if children are virtuous, they are not harmed for what their ancestors 
have done, 169. But, says one of the company, some of your remarks imply the 
immortality of the soul, 168, 169. Plutarch answers, yes; and we have good 
reason for assuming that point ; if we were like the leaves which fall from the 
trees in autumn, or like the hot-house plant which has no enduring root; if we 
were brought into existence to endure only for a day, it would be unworthy of 
the Deity to lavish so much care upon us, 169. The immortality of the soul, 
and an overruling Providence, are confirmed to us by the same argument, 170. 
If the soul survives the body, we may conclude that its future state will be one 
of reward or punishment, because life is a struggle and a probation, 170. Punish- 
ments that reach posterity often restrain the inclinations of wicked persons, 171. 
Children born of diseased parents need to be guarded against the hereditary 
disease, 172. And children of wicked parents will be themselves wicked, unless 
careful and timely restraints be placed upon them, 173, 174. God sees the inbred 
corruption if we do not, and often does not wait till the actual outbreak before 
animadverting upon it, 174, 175. Dormant villany may be more dangerous than 
open iniquity, and so may need chastisement, 175. The innocent are never 
punished for the guilty ; but if a man tread in his father's steps, he must succeed 
to his punishment, 175, 176. The argument is enforced by the story of a man 
who lived a dishonest and wicked life ; who appeared to die ; visited the world 
of spirits ; saw the rewards and punishments there experienced ; came back to 
life, and was greatly reformed in consequence, 177-188. 


Br R. Brown, M.L 

The Grecians, from distrust of Grecian justice, appealed to foreign judicatures, 189. 
In a similar manner, philosophers, instead of appeals to human nature, have 
appealed to brute affection, 189. Absurdity of such an appeal, 189. Brutes, 
having no reason, follow blindly and implicitly the guidance of Nature, 190. All 
brutes love their offspring, toiling and suffering for their good, 190, 191. Let them 
herein be our examples, 192. Some pretend that among human beings aisin- 
terested affection does not exist, 192. This assertion is not true, 193. Nature 
has so ordered the circumstances in which man comes into being, as to necessitate 
the existence of a strong and tender love on the part of the mother, 193, 194. 
Parents do not love their children in the hope of benefit to be derived from them, 
195. Nor from the desire of having heirs to their estates, 196. A rich man 
without heirs has many friends ; and children, when bom to him, do not augment 
his power, 196. Natural affection may be obscured and hindered by vice; but 
this disproves not its existence, 197. 



' By John Oswald. 

Is the grandeur and power of the Roman Empire due to Virtue, or to Fortune ? 19b. 
Virtue and Fortune, though different in nature, conspire to produce the same 
results, 198. Both united in rearing that stupendous structure, the Roman Em- 
pire, 199. The world was full of change, confusion, and disorder, till the power 
of Rome extended over the nations, 200. Virtue and Fortune now come forward 
in this discussion to maintain their respective claims as architects and supporters 
of the Roman greatness, 200. In the train of Virtue are Fabricius, Camillus, 
Cincinnatus, Marcellus, Scipio, and others, 201. Fortune, having deserted the 
Persians, Greeks and Carthaginians, comes forward leading Numa, Aemilius 
Paulus, Metellus, Sylla, as her favored sons, 201-203. The Romans themselves 
attributed their greatness to Fortune, and built many temples to it, 203, 211. 
Caesar relied much on Fortune, and was greatly assisted by it, 204, 205. Aug- 
ustus was the favored child of Fortune, 205. Fortune was manifest in all the 
affairs of Rome from the beginning, as in the birth and education of Romulus, 
206-208. In the long, wise, and peaceful reign of Numa, 208-210. In the birth, 
elevation, and prosperity of Servius Tullius, 212, 213. In the triumplis of the 
Romans over Philip, Antiochus, and the Carthaginians, and especially the expe- 
ditions of Pompey, 214. The favor of Fortune was constant, from age to age : it 
attended the Romans in all their enterprises, 215. The great overthrow at the 
river AUia was not fatal to Rome, 216-218. The cackling of the sacred geese, a 
piece of good fortune, saved Rome, 217. Alexander of Macedon was intending 
war against the Romans, but Fortune ordered his death just at the right time foe 
them, 219. [The remainder of this treatise, containing the arguments in behalf 
of Virtue, is lost.] 


By John Philips, Gent. 

Talkativeness an inveterate disease, 220. Talkative people are very troublesome, 
221. They are avoided and are not heard, 222. They never gain belief, 223. 
Talkativeness often results from drunkenness, 224. Silence is often a great virtue ; 
anecdote of Zeno at a feast, 225. Loquacity shows great want of good breeding, 

227. It exposes to great danger, 228. It gave Athens into the power of Sylla, 

228. It prolonged the tyranny of Nero, 228, 229. The noble taciturnity of 
Leaena, 229, 230. Secrets are not to be revealed, even to our most intimate 
friends, 232, 233. Anecdote of a Roman senator and his wife, 233, 284, Mis- 
chiefs of a vain curiosity, 236. Loquacious men destroy themselves, 233. Anec- 
dote of Dionysius and a barber, 238. Of an Athenian barber, 238, 239. Of one 
who robbed the temple of Minerva, 239. Of the murderers of Ibycus, 249. Great 
peril of an unbridled tongue, 240. A tell-tale is often a traitor, 211. To euro 
ourselves of so vile a habit, consider the mischiefs which arise from it, 242. Study 
conciseness of speech : imitate the Spartan brevity, 243. When in company 
questions are asked, keep silence till all the rest have refused to answer, 245, 246. 
Be not hasty to answer questions that are intended to ensnare you, 247. When 
the questioner really desires information, let there be a pause between the ques- 
tion and the answer, 247. Three sorts of answers to questions, — the necessary, 


the polite, the superfluous, 248. Beware of the third sort, 249. Beware of talk- 
ing on favorite subjects, and of matters relating to your profession, 250, 251. Be- 
fore yf u speak, consider wliat advantage may arise from speaking, and what 
mischief from holding your peace, 253. 


By the Same Hand. 

1'i.e scene of this discussion is laid near Thespiae, on the slope of Mount Helicon ; 
tlie interlocutors are Plutarch and several of his friends, 254, 255. Tlie occasion 
is a match projected between Ismenodora, a chaste, noble, and rich widow, and 
Baccho, a beautiful young man, both of Thespiae, 256. There are dilTerent 
opinions concerning the propriety of the connection, chiefly on account of the 
disparity of age and outward condition, 256. A discussion arises as to the true 
nature and foundation of love, as it actually exists in the world, 258. Does it 
spring from the desire of carnal gratification merely, or from some higher im- 
pulse 1 258, 259. One speaker pretends that genuine love is thiit for benutiful 
boys, Traidtpaoria, and condemns the love of women, 250. Another condemns 
male converse as contrary to nature, 260. It is of recent origin, nourished by 
the scenes of the palaestra, 261, 262. As Venus is not present in such scenes, 
there is no real love, 262. The connection of Baccho with Ismenodora is object- 
ed to by some of the speakers, on the ground that it would make him dependent 
on her, 264, 265. Plutarch advocates the connection, 206. Men have sometimes 
married wives who held them in subjection, but came to this result by their own 
weakness, 266, 267. There may be a positive advantage in having a wife older 
than one's self, arising from her superior wisdom, 268. At this point, the com- 
pany receive information that Ismenodora, with some friends, had got Baccho 
into her house, and was holding him there, 269. A lady warmly in love, 270. 
Is Love a Deity, or only a strong human passion ? 272. Why should we call in 
question the deity of Cupid more than that of Jupiter or Minerva? 273, 274. 
Why admit the deity of Mars, the god of war and slaughter, and even of the 
nymphs and dryads, and refuse to believe that a god presides over the tenderest 
human atlections 1 275-280. The god of love is not inferior either in power, or 
in the benefits he confers, to any other deity, 281. Mere venereal deligiit may 
be purchased for a drachm ; it is soon over, 281, 282. Love, as an affection, has 
a controlling power ; examples, 283-287. Its power over the ancient heroes, 286. 
Love makes cowards brave, and covetous men liberal, 288. There are different 
opinions about the gods, but all confess the power of the god of love, 291. 
Opinions of the Egyptians concerning the god of love, 2^2. Resemblance be- 
tween the sun and the god of love, and differences, 203, 234. True love has for 
its main and ultimate object the qualities of the mind and heart, 295, 290. True 
beauty is that of the soul, 297. Love is the scourge of proud, ill-natured people, 
298. The causes of love are common to both sexes, 299. Love is a noble and 
generous affection, 300. In wedlock, founded on true love, there will be no 
"mine " and " thine," 301. There will be mutual respect and confidence, 301. 
All other love will be excluded, 302. Illustrated by the story of Camma, a Gal- 
atian lady, 302, 303. A raging passion for beautiful persons, either male or 
female, is not true love, 305. Yet personal charms in a modest woman will fix 
the affection of a husband, 305. No earthly joy is so great and so lasting as that 
arising from the conjugal union, 307. The love of virtuous women does not 


cease with their youth and beauty, 308. Conjugal fidelity exemplified in the case 
of Sabinus of Galatia and his wife, 308-310. Tiie discussion ends with the mar- 
riage of Ismenodora and Bucclio, 311. 


By Sir A. L 

1. Aristoclia, of Ilaliartus in Boeotia, is sought in marriage by two young men; 
on her wedding-day she is slain, 812, 313. 2. Arcliias of Corinth, enamoured 
of a young man named Aetaeon, endeavors by force to obtain possession of hii 
person ; resistance being made, Aetaeon is slain, 313-315. 3. Two virgins cf 
Leuctra in Boeotia having been ravished and murdered by two young Spartans, 
their father goes to Lacedaemon to obtain redress; failing in the attempt, ho 
invokes the vengeance of the Furies upon that city, and slays himself; not long 
after, the Lacedaemonians receive a signal defeat at Leuctra, 315-319. 4. PhO" 
cus, the father of a beautiful virgin, refusing to give her in marriage, is naup 
dered ; the murderers escape, but are at length taken, and put to death, 
819, 320. 5. Alcippus of Lacedaemon, a virtuous citizen, being unjustly ban- 
ished, his wife and daughters are not permitted to follow him ; his wife slayi 
herself and daughters, and a terrible earthquake follows, 32J-322. 


By Mr. J. Kersey. 

Difficulty of giving advice to princes, 323. A prince in the first place, should leai 
to govern himself, 324. He should feel that he is God's minister for good to hit 
subjects, 325. He should not affect the power or the absolute sovereignty of 
God, 826. He should be more afraid of doing than of suffering ill, 327. He 
should vigilantly guard the welfare of his subjects, 827. His wisdom and justice 
should reflect the wisdom and justice of God, 328. Ilis power should be 
strained by sound reason, 329. 


By a. G., Gent. 

Plutarch feels under obligation to defend his countrymen and others from the un 
generous represfentations of Herodotus, 331. Some signs of a malicious narrative, 
882. To put the worst construction on actions ; to relate faults having no con- 
nection with the story ; to omit the relation of laudable actions; when the same 
action has been related in two different ways, to prefer the more unfavorable ; to 
assign bad motives for an action of which the true motive is unknown : these 
things are signs of malice, 332-334. Many misrepresentations occur in Herod- 
otus : as in the story of lo; the cause of the Trojan war; and that the Greeks 
derived their religious worship from the Egyptians, 835, 336. Also that the Per- 
sians learned the castration of boys from the Greeks, 333. That Hercules came 
from Egypt, and Thales from Phoenicia, 837. That the Alcmaeonidae were 
guilty of treason, 338. That Othryadas was not truly a hero, 838. He is incon- 
sistent in his account of Croesus, 839. He misrepresents the Athenians in the 



affsiir of the Milesians, 839. And the Lacedaemonians in their expedition against 
Polycrates of Sanios, 340. And the Corintliians in the affair of the 300 boys 
from Corcyra, 34L He calumniates Clisthenes, the deliverer of Athens, Aris- 
togiton, and the Lacedaemonians, for their share in the expulsion of Ilippias, 343. 
lie gives an incorrect and defective account of the burning of Sardis by the 
Atiicjiians and Eretrians, 344. He falsifies the history of the Persian invasion 
of Greece, 345, et se<j. He defames the Alcmaeonidae and the Argives, for their 
conduct in that affair, 347-349. He indulges a malignant spite against the The- 
bans, 3ol-3oG. He does injustice to Leonidas, 354. He misrepresents the re- 
tirement of the Greek fleet after tl'.e battle of Artemisium, 350-358. He is unfair 
towards those of the Greeks who were compelled to submit to the overwhelming 
power of the Persians, 351, 352, 300. He misrepresents the Naxians, 300, 301. 
He is unjust to Themistocles, and to Adinumtus, the Corinthian admiral, in re- 
spect to their conduct at Salamis, 301-304. He unfairly represents the battle of 
Plataea, and the- part taken in it by several of the confederate States, 30G-8G9. 
The summing up of the case, 370. 


By S. White, M.D. 

The views of Chrysippus, the Stoic, opposed, 372, et spq. He and the Stoics in gen- 
eral pervert the common conceptions, 373, 374. Do they agree with Nature who 
make all natural things indifferent ? 375. Natural things, — health, vigor, comfort, 
&c., — are necessary, if we would live according to Nature ; but tlie Stoics deny 
this, 375. An intelligent and wise man will estimate every thing at its true 
value, 370. When deprived of good things, a wise man feels the loss, 377. It is 
aconmion experience that a man has joy in exchanging a state of great evil for a 
state of great good ; but the Stoics do not admit this,. 377. The Stoics do not 
admit that the continuance of a good thing increases its value, contrary to the 
conmion apprehension and belief, 378. They maintain that virtue and happiness, 
when present, may not be perceived by him who enjoys them ; which is a great 
absurdity, 378, 379. Is the difference then so small between health and sickness, 
wisdom and folly 1 379. It is repugnant to the common conception, that all men 
who are not wise are equally foolish, wicked, and unjust; and yet the Stoics 
assert this, 380. They say that a man possessing all good things may find it 
convenient to commit suicide ; and that a man destitute of all good may find it 
fitting to live, 381, 382. Chrysippus inconsistent with himself, 383. He main- 
tains that vice is not wholly useless; that it is indispensable to the existence (»f 
virtue, 384. Must we then pray that wickedness may always continue ? 385. 
God has no need of thieves, murderers, and other evil-doers, nor is wickedness 
pleasing to him, 380. The Stoics say that prudence could not exist in the uttor 
absence of evil, 387. But good and evil do not exist that there may be place and 
opportunity for prudence, 388. Suppose evil to cease to exist : would any harm 
arjgefrom the lack of prudence? 388. Our tasle would not be lost, if all bitter things 
were wanting, 389. If gooil only existed, might there not be an apprehension of 
evil ? 389. If vice were absolutely necessary, might not a few examples suffice 1 
889. The Stoics say that no vicious man receives benefit from any source ; has 
no benefactors, and does not slight benefactors : of course, then, he is never un- 
grateful, 391. What is utilty ? 392. According to the Stoics, it is a gathering 
and keeping of useless and indifferent things, 393. To live virtuously and 


according to nature is the true happiness, 394. The Stoics, in practice, sanctior 
this idea ; but their philosophy rejects it, 394. The end is more important and 
valuable than the means, though both may be good ; but the Stoics allow no 
good or evil thing to be greater or loss than another good or evil thing, 395. It ii 
against common sense to say, with Chrysippus, that there may be two ends oi 
scopes proposed of life, and that all we do is not to be referred to one, 39G. Thai 
which is first by nature is to be first chosen, 396. The Stoics say that the obtain- 
ing of natural things is not the end of aiming after them, 397. Ciirysippus say^ 
a man may be indifferent to good and evil before he understands the nature oi 
good or evil : which is utterly impossible, 398. The Stoics reason in a circle, 
899, 400. Absurdities of their philosophy, 402. It is selfcontradictory, 403 
According to them the universe is nothing and nowhere, 404. Their conceptioni 
of God are ccmfused and erroneous, 404. They believe none of the gods to hi 
immortal, but Jupiter alone, 405. Tiiey admit the providence of God, but d 
not allow that he bestows good thi>!gs, 406. They make God the author of evil, 
408. They hold a final conflagration, and an absorption of all things into Godj 
405, 409. They say there is but one quality in two substances, 410. They thinl 
that one body may mix with anotlier through its whole extent, so that a drop o; 
wine may extend through the wiiole Atlantic Ocean, 411, 412. Their philosophj 
concerning the equality and inequality of bodies leads to absurdity, 412-416 
and so when they say that nothing touches another, 416, 417. They also al> 
Burdly say that time may be past or future, but not present, 418-420. They say- 
that nothing can overtake another: a swift horse cannot overtake a slow tortoise 
because tiie interval between can be divided into infinite spaces, 420. They sa; 
that every man has two bodies precisely alike, one being substance, the other 
quality, 421, 422. They make the virtues and vices, tlie fancies, impulses, and 
operations of the mind to be distinct bodies and animals, 423. They make God 
himself to be an intellectual body, not incorporeal, 425. They make qualities t 
te bodies, and yet say that matter is void of quality, 426. 


Br E. Smith, M.A. 

The life of every man, especially of every philosopher, should agree with what 
believes and teaches, 423. The lives of Chrysippus, Zeno, and otiier Stoic phi 
Josophers, did not agree with their doctrines, 429, et seq. It has been so when any 
of them have managed state affairs, 429. And in regard to the worship of the 
gods, 480. They represent virtue as one indivisible quality of the mind, and yet 
admit several virtues, 431. They say that students should first learn logic, sec- 
ondly ethics, then physics, and then s.ay that natural science should come first, 
432, 433. Chrysippus has written on bath sides of the same question ; he has 
opposed his own doctrines, 434-436. They say that the law commands good ac- 
tions antl forbids evil actions; and yet wicked men cannot do good, 437. Chry- 
sippus says that nothing properly belongs to a bad man, or is profitable to him ; 
that no one vice or sin is greater than another, nor any good deed better than 
another; and then ccmtradicts himself, 438-441. He disparages the fear of divine 
wrath as a motive to virtue, and yet commends it, 442. In one place he allows 
pleasure to be a good ; in another place he denies that it is so, 413. In one place 
he asserts that he who injures another injures also himself, and in another place 
says this is absurd, 444. lie often asserts that vice is the essence of uuhappiness ; 



hut elsewhere says that it is profitable for a bad man to live rather than to die, 
although he never become good, 446. He says it is sometimes meet for the hap- 
py to make away with themselves, and for the unhappy to continue to live, 447. 
He says that good things are totally and necessarily different from bad ; and yet 
that a man may change from one to the other without perceiving it, 447. He 
maintains that a prudent man meddles not with public affairs ; and also says that 
a wise man willingly takes upon him a kingdom, 448. He makes a wise man in- 
different to wealth, and yet eager to receive pay, 449. In one place he justifies 
unclean practices from the example of brute animals, and in another place con- 
demns them, 452. When two things are exactly alike, and there is a necessity 
to choose between them, the mind chooses : which Chrysippus in one place calls 
an effect without a cause, but in another place thinks there may be a hidden 
cause, 452, 453. He highly commends Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, for what 
they delivered on dialectics; and yet opposes their views, 454. He says that to 
have been happy a long time is to be no more happy than to be happy only for a 
moment ; and yet that momentary happiness is worth nothing, 455. He allows 
ornament to be desirable in a discourse, and yet says that blemishes and solecisms 
in speaking are not to be regarded, 456. He applies to the gods terms of high 
praise, but makes them the authors of slaughter and carnage, 460. If the gods 
are the authors of war they are also the authors of vice and wickedness, contrary 
to what Chrysippus says, 461. He says nothing can be contrary to Nature, and 
even vicious practices are according to Nature and the laws established by the 
Deity : yet he says God, and man too, punishes vice, 462-464. He says all the 
gods are nourished except Jupiter and the World ; he also says the World is 
nourished, 466, 467. He contradicts himself in regard to the generation of the 
goul ; the nature and qualities of the air ; a vacuum, &c., 468-473. His doctrine 
of things possible is contrary to his doctrine of Fate, 473. Fate he declares to be 
an invincible, absolute cause ; yet admits that there are obstacles and hindrances 
to particular motions and actions, 474-477. 


Br R. KippAX, M.A. 

It is not probable that this word was placed there by chance, 479. It is doubtless an 
enigma, like many other things in the temple of Apollo, 480. What then is the 
meaning? 480. Does it point to the number of the wise men of Greece, of 
whom Thales was one 1 480. Has it an astronomical meaning referring to the 
sun, the second of the planets, as e is the second of the vowels ? 481. Does it 
denote a form of prayer to the god, d standing for a wish * 482. As Apollo ia 
skilled in logic, does eI refer to that science, denoting the dependence of con- 
secjuent or antecedent, or the connection of one thing with another? 482-484. 
Has it a relation to mathematics, e being the fifth letter of the alphabet, five 
being the sum of two and three, the even and odd numbers, and five or its double 
being tliat number by which we reckon ? 484-486. Or does it point to music and 
its five symphonies, or the five positions of the tetrachords ? 488. Or may we 
8uj>pose it refers to five worlds, or to five elements of matter, or to the five geo- 
metrical solids ? 489. Or to the five ]iortions of the world, or to the five species 
of animated beings ? 490. Or to the five principal beginnings ? 491. The true 
answer is, — \Sy the word ei^ we are to understand the verb d, Thou art, as an 


address to Apollo ; si^ifying thereby the actual and permanent existence of God, 
in contrast with our fleeting, transitory existence, 493-495. God is : he exists, 
not in time but in eternity, an eternal, changeless now, 495. God is One, 
and not many, though there are many manifestations of him, 495, 496. The 
word el, Thou art, then, testifies of this one God, as eternal and unchangeable, 
and challenges for Him our worship, 497, 498. 


By S. White, M.D. 

Men cannot enjoy wealth by reason of trouble ; yet men earnestly seek it, 499. 
Vice is sufficient of itself to produce misery ; it needs no aid from instruments, 
500. Poverty, slavery, war, external calamity of every sort, even deatli In cruel 
forms, may be borne by a heroic spirit, 601. In India, widows burn with joy on 
the funeral pile of their husbands, 502. All the ills of Fortune cannot produce 
misery, without Vice ; but Vice ruins and destroys, 503. 


By the Same Hakb. 

Man is the most unhappy of all creatures, 604. The "body has many diseases, and 
they are readily perceived, 505. But the soul does not readily perceive its own 
maladies ; it even mistakes them for indications of soundness, 506. The man 
diseased in body willingly yields to the care of the physician, 506. The unruly 
passions of the soul resist a cure, and are therefore more fatal, 507, 608. 





1. There is an old story, friend Tercntius Priscus, that 
heretofore eagles or swans, flying from the opposite bounds 
of the earth, met together where now stands the temple of 
Apollo Pythius, in the place now called the Navel ; and 
that some while after, Epimenides the Phaestian, wiUing to 
satisfy his curiosity, enquired of the oracle of Apollo with 
regard to this story, but received such an answer as made 
him never a jot the wiser ; upon which he said : 

No navel is there of the earth or sea : 
'Tis known to Gods alone, if one there be. 

Thus fitly did the God chastise this bold enquirer into an- 
cient traditions. 

2. But in our time, not long before the celebration of 
the Pythian games during the magistracy of Callistratus, 
there were two holy men who, coming as it were from 
the two opposite ends of the world, met together at the 
city of Delphi. The one was Demetrius the grammarian, 
who came from England to return to Tarsus in Cilicia, 
where he was born ; the other, Cleombrotus the Lacedae- 
monian, who had been long conversant in Egypt and the 
Troglodytic country, and had made several voyages, as well 
on the lied Sea as other parts, — not as a merchant, to get 


money, but to improve his knowledge and enrich his mind 
for he had enough to live upon, and cared for no more- 
And he was collecting history, as the material for philoso- 
phy, the end whereof (as he called it) is theology. He, 
having been lately at the temple and oracle of Jupiter Am- 
mon, seemed not much to marvel at any thing he there saw ; 
yet he mentioned to us one particular (which he said was 
told him by the priest of the temple) touching the lamp 
that is never extinguished and spendeth less every year 
than the former. Whence they conjectured an inequality 
of years, whereby each year was shorter than the preced- 

3. This discourse was much wondered at by the com- 
pany, and Demetrius amongst the rest affirmed it unrea- 
sonable to ground the knowledge of such great matters on 
such slight and trivial conjectures ; for this was not (as 
Alcaens said) to paint the lion from the measure of his 
claw,* but to change and disorder the motions of celestial 
bodies for the sake of a lamp or the snuff of a candle, and 
to overthrow at one stroke all the mathematical sciences. 
These men, replied Cleombrotus, will not be moved by 
what you say ; for first, they will not yield to mathemati- 
cians in point of certainty, seeing they may be more easily 
mistaken in their comprehension of time, it being so 
slippery in its motions and with such distant periods, than 
these men in the measures of their oil, about which they 
are so exact and careful because of the strangeness of the 
thing. Moreover, Demetrius, by denying that small things 
are oft the signs and indications of great, must prejudice 
several arts and sciences, and deprive them of the proofs 
of several conclusions and predictions. And yet you 
grammarians will needs vouch that the Demi-gods and 
princes at the Trojan war shaved with razors, because you 
find in Homer the mention of such an instrument ; that 

• 'Ef ovvxog rbv Tiiovra, ex ungue leonem. 


also usury was then in fashion, because he says in one 

A debt is due me neither new nor small,* 

where you interpret ocptlhrai to mean ina^ eases. And 
again, when he calls the night quick and sharp, you will 
needs have him to mean by this word, that the shadow of 
the earth being round groweth sharp at the end like the 
body of a cone. Again, who is he that, denying small 
things to be the signs and proofs of great, will allow what 
physicians tell us, namely, that we may prognosticate a 
pestilent summer when great numbers of spiders are seen, 
and also when the fig leaves in the spring resemble crows' 
feet? And who will permit us to measure the greatness 
of the sun's body by a pint or gallon of water, or will grant 
that a small table like a tile, making a sharp angle lean- 
ing on a plane superficies, can show the just measure of 
the elevation of the pole from the horizon which is ever to 
be seen in our hemisphere? And this is what the priests 
may allege in favor of what they affirm ; so that we must 
offer other arguments against them, if we will maintain the 
course of the sun to be fixed and unchangeable, as we here 
hold it to be. 

4. Not only of the sun, cried out aloud the philosopher 
Ammonius, who was there present, but also of the whole 
heaven ; for, if the years really decrease, the passage which 
the sun makes from one tropic to another must of necessity 
be shortened, so that it shall not take up so great a part of 
the horizon as the mathematicians do imagine, but become 
less and shorter as the southern part approaches the north- 
ern. Whence consequently the summer will fall out to be 
shorter and the temperature of the air colder, by reason of 
the sun's turning more inwardly, and describing greater 
parallels within the signs of the tropics than it now does in 

* 'Evda xP^i(>C f^oi b(}>e?iXeTat, ol n viov ye ov6' bXiyov. Od. III. 867. The same 
interpretation is found in the Scholia on the Odyssey (G.) 


the longest day in summer and the shortest in winter. It 
would moreover also follow, that the pins of the dials in 
the city of Syene will no longer appear shadowless at the 
summer solstice, and some fixed stars will run under the 
horizon, and others against one another, for want of room. 
And should it be alleged that all the other celestial bodies 
keep their courses and ordinary motions without any change, 
they will never be able to cite any cause which shall hasten 
his motion alone above all the rest ; but they will be forced 
to confound and disorder all evident appearances which do 
clearly show themselves to our eyes, and especially those 
of the moon. So that there will be no need of observing 
these measures of oil to know the difference of the years ; 
because the eclipses will do this, if there be any, seeing 
the Sim does oft meet with the moon, and the moon as oft 
falls within the shadow of the earth ; so that we need not 
any longer hold arguing on this matter. 

Bat, says Cleombrotus, I myself have seen the measure 
of the oil, for they have shown it several years ; but that 
of the present is far less than that of ancient times. Unto 
which Ammonias answered : How comes it to pass then 
that other people who have an inextinguishable fire in 
veneration, and have preserved it even time out of mind, 
could never remark this ? And granting what you say 
concerning this measure of oil, is it not better t9 attribute 
the cause of this to some coldness or dampness of air; or, 
on the contrary, to some heat or dryness, by which the fire 
in the lamp being weakened needs not so much nourish- 
ment, and could not consume the same quantity ? For it 
is well known that fire burns better in winter than in sum- 
mer, its heat being drawn in and enclosed by the cold ; 
whereas in great heats and dry weather it is weakened, 
lying dead and languishing without any strength ; and if it 
be kindled in the sunshine, its efficacy is small, for it hardly 
catches hold of the wood, and slowly consumes the fuel. 


But we may with greater probability attribute the circum- 
stance of the oil to the oil itself; for oil formerly was of 
less nutriment, as squeezed out of olives which grew upon 
young trees ; but being since better ordered, as coming of 
plants more fully grown, it must needs be more effectual 
to the nourishing and keeping of the fire. And this is the 
best way of saving the credit of the Ammonian priests in 
their supposition, which will not endure the test of reason. 
5. Ammonius having finished his discourse, I pray, said 
I, Cleombrotus, give us some account of the oracle ; for 
it ever has been in great esteem in those parts till these 
times, Avherein its divinity and reputation seem to be de- 
cayed. Unto which Cleombrotus making no answer, but 
looking down to the ground, Demetrius took up the dis- 
course, saying : You need not busy yourself in enquiries 
after the oracles in those parts, seeing we find the oracles 
in these parts to fail or (to speak better) to be totally si- 
lenced, except two or three ; so that it would be more to 
the purpose to search into the cause of this silence. But 
we are more concerned in Boeotia, which, although for- 
merly famous throughout all the world for oracles, is now 
like a fountain dried up, so that at present we find them 
dumb. Tor at this day there is no place in all Boeotia, 
unless in the town of Lebadea, where one can draw out 
any divination, all other parts being become silent and for- 
saken. Yet in the time of the war against the Persians, 
the oracle of Apollo Ptous was in request, as also that 
of Amphiaraus ; for both of them were tried. The priest 
of Apollo Ptoiis, who was always wont to return the ora- 
cle's answers in Aeolic Greek, spake to him that was 
sent from the barbarians in their own barbarous language, 
so that none of the assistants understood a word ; where- 
by they were given to understand, that it was not lawful 
for the barbarians to have the use of the Greek toni^ue to 
serve their pleasure. And as to that of Amphiaraus. the 


person that was sent thither, having fallen asleep in the 
sanctuary, dreamed that he heard the minister of that God] 
bidding him be gone out of the temple and saying that! 
the God forbade him to remain, and that he presently] 
shoved him out thence with both his hands ; and seeing he 
still stopped by the way, he took up a great stone and 
struck him with it on the head. And what was this but a 
prediction and denunciation of what was to come to pass l\ 
For Mardonius was not long after defeated by Pausanias,: 
who w^as no king, but only the king of Lacedaemonia's 
guardian and minister, and the then lieutenant of thej 
Grecians' army, and was with a stone flung out of a sling] 
felled to the ground, just as the Lydian servant thought he 
was struck in his dream. In the same manner also flour-1 
ished the oracle near Tegyra, where it is said Apollo him- 
self w^as born ; and in effect, there are two sreams that 
glide near the place, one of which is still called the Palm- 
tree, and the other the Olive-tree. And at this oracle, in 
the time of the Modes' war, Echecrates being then the 
prophet, the God Apollo answered by his mouth, that the 
honor and profit of this war would fall to the Greeks' 
share. And during the Peloponnesian war, the Delians 
having been driven out of their island, they had word 
brought them from the oracle of Delphi, that they should 
search for the place where Apollo was born, and there 
make some certain sacrifice. At which they marvelling, 
and demanding whether Apollo was born elsewhere than 
in their parts, the prophetess Pythia moreover told them 
that a crow would show them the place. These deputies 
from the Delians, in their return home, passed by chance 
through the city of Chaeronea, where they heard their 
hostess at the inn talking to some travellers about the ora- 
cle of Tegyra, to which they were going, and at their parting 
they heard them say to her Adieu, Dame^ Coroue.* By 

* Kooui J], that is, Crow. 


this they comprehended the meaning of Pythia's answer ; 
and having offered their sacrifices at Tegyra, they were 
soon after restored and established in their own country. 
Yet there have been given later answers from these oracles 
than those you have mentioned ; but now they have wholly 
ceased, so that it will not be besides the matter, seeing we 
are near by Apollo Pythius, to enquire after the cause of 
this change. 

6. Thus discoursing together, we left the temple, and 
were come as far as the Cnidian Hall, where entering in, 
we found our friends which we looked for, being set down 
in expectation of our coming. All the rest were at leis- 
ure, by reason of the time of the day, and did nothing 
but anoint their bodies, or gaze on the wrestlers who 
were exercising themselves. Whereupon Demetrius 
laughing said to them : It seems to me that you are not 
discoursing of any matter of great consequence, for I see 
you labor not under deep thoughts. It is true, replied 
Heracleon the Megarean, we are not a disputing, whether 
the verb Bdllco in his future tense loses one of his U, nor 
from what positive or primitive are formed or derived these 
two comparatives, x^^Q^^ ^^^^ ^elnov, and these two super- 
latives, IEIQ16X0V and §eltLaTov ; for such questions as these 
make people knit their brows. A man may discourse of 
all other matters, especially of philosophy, without these 
frowning angry looks that put the by-standers into a fright. 
Eeceive us then, said Demetrius, into your company, and, 
if you please, the question too which has been now agi- 
tated amongst us, which does well agree with the phice 
where we are, and, relating to the God Apollo, concerns 
therefore all that are here ; but, however, let us have no 
knitting of the brows or frowning looks. 

7. Being then all set down close together, and Deme- 
trius having proposed the question we were upon, Didymus 
the Cynic philosopher, surnamed Planetiadcs, getting upon 


his feet and striking the ground two or three times with 
his stick, cried out : O Jupiter ! what a hard question do 
you offer ! What a difficult matter do you propose ! For 
is it any wonder, the whole world wallowing in wicked- 
ness, and Shame and Retributive Justice having departed 
from men (as Hesiod long ago predicted), that the Gods 
should no longer suffer their oracles to be among them, 
as heretofore ? For my part, I wonder there is so much 
as one left, and that Hercules or some other of the Gods! 
has not long since plucked up and carried away the 
tripod whereon are offered such base and villainous ques-, 
tions to Apollo ; some coming to him as a mere paltry 
astrologer, to try his skill and impose on him by subtle 
questions, others asking him about treasures buried underB 
ground, others about incestuous marriages. So that Pythag- * 
oras is here soon convinced of his mistake, when he af- 
firmed that the time when men are honestest is when they 
present themselves before the Gods ; for those filthy pas- 
sions, which they dare not discover before a grave mortal 
man, they scruple not to utter to Apollo. He had gone ' 
further, if Heracleon had not pulled him by the sleeve ; 
and myself, who was better acquainted than any in the 
company besides, thus spake to him : Cease, friend Plane- 
tiades, from angering Apollo against thee, seeing he is 
sharp and choleric and not easily reconciled ; although, 
as Pindar says. 

Mortals to favor, Heaven has him enjoined. 

And whether he be the sun, or the master of the sun and 
father of it, being above all visible natures, it is not to be 
supposed he disdains to hold any further intercourse with 
men at this time, seeing he gives them their birth, nour- 
ishment, subsistence, and reason. Neither is it credible 
that the Divine Providence (who, like a kind and indulgent 
mother, produces and conserves all things for our use) 
should show herself malevolent only in the matter of divi- 


nation, or deprive us of it having once given it us ; as if, 
when there were more oracles than there are now in the 
world, men w^re not then as wicked. But let us make a 
Pythian truce (as they say) with vice, which you are al- 
ways sharply reprehending, and sit down here together to 
try whether we can find out any other cause of the ceasing 
of oracles ; and let me only advise you, by the way, to re- 
member that you keep this God propitious and move him 
not to wrath. Planetiades was so moved with these 
speeches, that he went away immediately, without speak- 
ing a word. 

8. The company remaining a while in silence, Ammo- 
nius, addressing himself to me, said : Prithee, Lamprias, 
let us take care of what we say, and not be rash in our 
assertions ; for we do not well when we make the God to 
be httle or no cause of these oracles ceasing ; for he that 
attributes the failing of them to any other cause than the 
will and decree of the God gives occasion to suspect him 
of believing that they never were nor are now by his dispo- 
sition, but by some other means. For there is no other 
more excellent and noble cause and power which can de- 
stroy and abolish divination, if it be the work of a God. 
And as for Plantiades's discourse, it does not at all please 
me, as well for the inequality and inconstancy which he at- 
tributes to the God, as for other reasons. For he makes 
him sometimes rejecting and detesting vice, and sometimes 
admitting and receiving it, just as a king, or rather a ty- 
rant, who drives wicked people out of one gate, and re- 
ceives them through another, and negotiates with them. 
But the greatest and most perfect work, that will admit of 
no additions, is that which agrees best with the dignity of 
the Gods. By supposing this, we may in my judgment 
affirm that in this common scarcity of men, occasioned by 
the former wars and seditions over all the world, Greece 
has most suffered ; so that she can with much difficulty 



raise three thousand men, which number the single city 
Megara sent heretofore to Plataea. Wlierefore if the 
God now forsakes several oracles which anciently were 
frequented, what is this but a sign that Greece is at this 
time very much dispeopled, in comparison of what it was 
heretofore ; and he that will affirm this shall not want for 
arguments. For of what .use would the oracle be now, 
which was heretofore at Tegyra or atPtoum ? For scarce- 
ly shall you meet, in a whole day's time, with so mucli as 
a herdsman or shepherd in those parts. We find also in 
writing, that this place of divination where we now are, 
and which is as ancient as any, and as famous and renowned 
as any in all Greece, was for a considerable time deserted 
and inaccessible, by means of a dangerous creature that 
resorted hither, namely a dragon. Yet those that liave 
written this did not well comprehend the occasion of the 
oracle's Ceasing ; for the dragon did not make the place 
solitary, but rather the solitude of the place occasioned 
the dragon to repair hither. Since that time, when Greece 
became populous and full of towns, they had two Avomen 
prophetesses, who went down one after another into the 
cave. Moreover, there was a third chosen, if need were ; 
whereas now there is but one, and yet we do not complain 
of it, because she is sufficient. And therefore we do not 
well to repine at Providence, seeing there is^ no want 
of divinations, where all that come are satisfied in what- 
ever they desire to know. Homer tells us, Agamem- 
non had nine heralds, and yet with these could he 
hardly keep in order the Greeks, they being so many in 
number ; but you will find here that the voice of one man 
is sufficient to be heard all over the theatre. The oracles 
then spake by more organs or voices, because there were 
then a greater number of men. So that we should think 
it strange, if the God should suffer the prophetical divina- 
tion to be spilt and run to waste like water, or everywhere 


to resound, as in solitary fields we hear the rocks echoing 
the voices of shepherds and bleating cattle. 

9. Ammonias having said these words, and I returning 
no answer, Cleombrotus took up the discourse, and ad- 
dressed himself to me. Hast thou then, said he, confessed 
that it is the God who makes and unmakes oracles ? Not 
I, said I ; for I maintain that God was never the cause of 
taking away or abolishing any oracle or divination ; but, 
on the contrary, whereas he produces and prepares several 
things for our use, so Nature leads them into corruption, 
and not seldom into a privation of their whole being. Or, 
to speak better, matter, which is itself privation or nega- 
tion, often flies away, and dissolves what a more excellent 
being than herself had wrought. So that I am of opinion, 
there are other causes which obscure and extinofuish these 
prophetic spirits. For though God does give to men sev- 
eral good and excellent things, yet he gives to none of 
them the power to exist eternally ; for, though the Gods 
never die, yet their gifts do, as Sophocles speaks. It were 
then well becoming philosophers who exercise themselves 
in the study of Nature and the first matter, to enquire into 
the existence, property, and tendency of those things, but 
to leave the origin and first cause to God, as is most rea- 
sonable. For it is a very childish and silly thing, to sup- 
pose that the God himself does, like the spirits speaking 
in the bowels of ventriloquists (which were anciently 
called Euryclees, and now Pythons), enter into the bodies 
of the prophets, and speak by their mouths and voices, as 
fit instruments for that purpose. For he that thus mixes 
God in human afi'airs has not that respect and reverence 
which is due to so great a majesty, as being ignorant of 
his ])ower and virtue. 

10. Cleombrotus then answered: You say very well; 
but it is a hard matter to comprehend and define how fcir 
this providence does extend itself. They seem both alike 


faulty to me, who will have him simply the cause of noth 
ing at all in the world, and who will have him to be 
concerned in all things ; for both of these are run into ex- 
tremes. But as those say well who hold that Plato, having 
invented the element on which spring up the quaHties,— 
which we sometimes call the first matter, and sometimes 
Nature, — has thereby delivered the philosophers from 
several great difficulties ; so it seems to me, that those who 
have ranked the genus of Daemons between that of Gods 
and men have solved greater doubts and difficulties, as 
having found the knot which does, as it were, join and 
hold together our society and communication with them 
It is uncertain whence this opinion arose, whether from the — 
ancient Magi by Zoroaster, or from Thrace by Orpheus, or( 
from Egypt, or Phrygia; as may be conjectured from the 
sight of the sacrifices which are made in both countries, 
where amongst their holy and divine ceremonies there is 
seen a mixture of mortality and mourning. And as to the 
Greeks, Homer has indiff*erently used these two names, 
terming sometimes the Gods Daemons, and other whiles 
Daemons Gods. But Ilesiod was the first that did best 
and most distinctly lay down four reasonable natures, the 
Gods, the Daemons (being many in number, and good in 
their kind), heroes, and men ; for the Demi-gods are reckoned 
amongst heroes. Others say, there is a transmutation of 
bodies as well as of souls ; and that, just as we see of the i 
earth is engendered water, of the water the air, and of the | 
air fire, the nature of the substance still ascending higher, I 
so good spirits always change for the best, being trans- 
formed from men into heroes, and from heroes into 
Daemons ; and from Daemons, by degrees and in a long 
space of time, a few souls being refined and purified come 
to partake of the nature of the Divinity. But there are 
some that cannot contain themselves, but rove about till 
they be entangled into mortal bodies, where they live 
meanly and obscurely, like smoke. 


11. And moreover, Hesiod imagines that the Daemons 
themselves, after certain revolutions of time, do at length 
die. For, introducing a Nymph speaking, he marks the 
time wherein they expire : 

Nine ages of men in their flower doth live 
The railing crow ; four times the stags surmount 
The life of crows ; to ravens doth Nature give 
A threefold age of stags, by true account ; 
One phoenix lives as long as ravens nine. 
But you, fair Nymphs, as the daughters verily 
Of mighty Jove and of Nature divine, 
The phoenix's years tenfold do multiply. 

Now those which do not well understand what the poet 
means by this word yzvad (age) do cause this computation 
of time to amount to a great number of years. For the 
word means a year ; so that the total sum makes but 9720 
years, which is the space of the age of Daemons. And 
there are several mathematicians who make it shorter than 
this. Pindar himself does not make it longer when he 
says. Destiny has given Nymphs an equal life with trees ; 
and therefore they are called 'Hamadryades, because they 
spring up and die with oaks. He was going on, when 
Demetrius interrupting him thus said : How is it possible, 
Cleombrotus, that you should maintain that a year was 
called by this poet the age of a man, seeing it is not the 
space of his flower and youth, nor of his old age ? For there 
are divers readings of this place, some reading ^§ojvtcov, others 
yr]o(6n(av, — one signifying flourishmg, the other aged. Now 
those that understand hereby " flourishing " reckon thirty 
years for the age of man's life, according to the opinion of 
Heraclitus ; this being the space of time in which a father 
has begotten a son who then is apt and able to beget 
another. And those that read " aged" allow to the age of 
man a hundred and eight years, saying that fifty-four years 
are just the half part of a man's life, which number consists 
of unity, the first two plane numbers, two squares, and two 
cubes (i. e. 1 + 2 + 3 4- 4 + 9 + 8 + 27) ; which numbers Plato 


himself has appropriated to the procreation of the soul. 
And it seems also that Hesiod by these words intimated the 
consummation of the world by fire ; at which time it is likely 
the Nymphs, with the rivers, marshes, and woods where 
they inhabit, shall be consumed. 

Such as in woods, or grotto's shady cell, 

Near sacred springs and verdant meadows dwell. * 

12. I have heard, says Cleombrotus, this alleged by 
several, and find that the Stoical conflagration hath intruded 
itself not only upon the works of Heraclitus and Orpheus, 
but also upon Hesiod's, imposing such meanings on their 
words as they never thought of. But I cannot approve of 
the consummation of the world which they maintain, nor 
of the other impossible matters; and especially what theyj 
say about the crow and the stag would force us to believe in 
the most excessive numbers. Moreover, the year, containing 
in itself the beginning and end of all things which the 
seasons bring and the earth produces, may, in my opinion, 
be not impertinently called* the age of man. For you 
yourselves confess that Hesiod does somewhere call the life 
of man yeved (age). What say you, does he not ? Which 
Demetrius confessing, he proceeded in this manner : It is 
also certain that we call the vessels whereby we measure 
things by the names of the things measured in them ; as a 
pint, a quart, or a bushel. As we then call a unit a number, 
though it be but the least part and measure and the begin- 
ning of a number ; so has he called a year the age of man, 
because it is the measure wherewith it is measured. As 
for those numbers which those others describe, they be not 
of such singularity and importance. But the sum of 9920 
is thus composed. The four numbers arising in order 
from one, being added together and multiplied by four, 
amount to forty ; this forty being tripled five times makes up 
the total of the forecited number. But as to that it is 

 n. XX. 8. 


not necessary to enter into a debate with Demetrins ; for 
"whether it be a short or a long time, certain or uncertain, 
wherewith Hesiod limits the soul of a Daemon and the life 
of a^emi-god, either of those will prove, by ancient and 
evident testimonies, that there are natures neuter and 
mean, and as it were in the confines of the Gods and men, 
subject to mortal passions and necessary changes ; which 
natures, according to the tradition and example of our 
predecessors, it is fitting we should call Daemons, giving 
them all due honor. 

13. To which purpose Xenocrates, one of the familiar 
friends of Plato, was wont to allege the example of 
triangles, which agree very well with the subject ; for that 
triangle which has equal sides and equal angles he com- 
pared unto the divine and immortal nature ; and that 
which has all three unequal, to the human and mortal 
nature ; and that which has two equal and one unequal, 
to the nature of Daemons, which is endued with the pas- 
sions and perturbations of the mortal nature, and the force 
and power of the divine. Even Nature has set before us 
sensible figures and resemblance of this ; of the Gods, the 
sun and the stars ; of mortal men, the comets, flashings in 
the night, and shooting-stars. And this similitude is taken 
up by Euripides, when he saith : 

He that but now was fleshy, plump, and gay, 
As a fall'n star his glories melt away ; 
Like that extinguished on the ground he lies. 
Breathing his soul into the ambient skies. 

And for a mixed body representing the nature of Daemons, 
we have the moon ; which some, observing it to be subject 
to increase and decrease and wholly to disappear, have 
thought very agreeable to the mutable condition of Dae- 
mons ; and for this reason they have termed her a terrestrial 
star, others Olympic earth, and others the inheritance and 
possession of Hecate, both heavenly and earthly. As one 


then that should take from the world the air, and remove 
it from between the moon and the earth, would dissolve th 
continuation and composition of the universe, by leavin 
an empty place in the midst, without any contexture t 
hold the two parts together ; so those that do not allov 
Daemons oppose all communication and conference of th 
Gods with men, seeing they destroy that nature (as Plat 
says) which serves as an interpreter and messenger between 
them both ; or else they constrain us to perplex and con 
found all things together, by mixing the divine nature wit 
human passions, and plucking it down from heaven, as the: 
women of Thessaly are said to do the moon. Even this 
fiction has met with belief in some women, because Ag- 
laonice, the daughter of Hegetor, being skilful in astrology, 
made the vulgar believe, whenever the moon was eclipsed, 
that by means of some charms and enchantments she 
brought it down from heaven. But as to us, let us not 
think there are any oracles or divinations without some 
divinity, or that the Gods are not pleased with sacrifices, 
and our services, and other ceremonies. And, on the other 
hand, let us not think that God is present in them, or em- 
ploys himself personally about them ; but rather believe 
that he does commit them to his officers, the Daemons, who 
are the spies and scouts of the Gods, wandering and 
circuiting about at their commands, — some beholding and 
ordering the sacred ceremonies and oblations offered to the 
Gods, others being employed to revenge and punish the 
high misdemeanors and enormous injustices of men. There 
are, moreover, others, to whom Hesiod gives a very vener- 
able name, calling them the distributers of riches and 
donors of largesses among mortals ; for the Gods have 
allowed them the privilege, and granted them a royal com- 
mission to see them duly distributed. Pie informs us here, 
by the way, that to be beneficent and liberal of favors is 
the proper office of a king. For there is a difference of 



virtue between these Daemons, as much as between men. 
For there are some of them in whom still there are some 
small remains (though weak and scarcely discernible) of the 
sensitive and irrational soul, which, like a small quantity 
of excrements and superfluities, stay still behind. Others 
there are, in whom there abideth a greater measure of 
these gross humors, the marks and traces of which are to 
be seen in many places, in the odd and singular ceremonies 
and sacrifices and the strange fables which prevail. 

14. As to the mysteries and secret ceremonies, by which 
we may more clearly than by any other means understand 
the nature of Daemons, let me keep a religious silence, as 
Herodotus says. But as to the certain feasts and direful 
sacrifices which are held as unfortunate and mournful 
days, and are celebrated by eating raw flesh and tearing 
the skin with the nails, or days wherein they fast and smite 
their breasts, and in several places utter filthy and dishonest 
words during the sacrifices, 

Wagging? their heads in frantic wise, 
With strange alarms and hideous cries, — 

I will never think these done on any of the Gods' account, 
but rather to avert, mollify, and appease the wrath and 
fury of some bad Daemons. For it is not likely there ever 
was a God that expected or required men to be sacrificed 
to him, as has been anciently done, or who received such 
kind of sacrifices with approbation. Neither must we 
imagine it was for nothing, that kings and great men have 
delivered their own children to be sacrificed, or that they 
sacrificed them themselves with their own hands ; but 
tliey intended hereby to avert and appease the malice 
and rancor of some evil spirits, or to satisfy the violent 
and raging lusts of some, who either could not or would 
not eujoy them with their bodies or by their bodies. Even 
as Hercules besieged the city of Oechalia for a wench that 


was therein, so these powerful and tyrannical Daemons] 
requiring some human soul which is still compassed wit) 
a body, and yet not being able to satisfy their lust by th( 
body, do therefore bring the plague and famine into townsj 
raise wars and seditions, till such time as they obtain am 
enjoy that which they love. Others, on the contrary (as 
remember I observed in Crete, for I was some considerable 
time there) celebrate a feast in which they show the 
figure of a man without a head, calling it Molus, the fathei 
of Meriones, who, having violently laid hands on tin 
Nymph, was afterwards found without a head. 

15. The rapes committed on boys or girls, the long' 
voyages, flights, banishments, and voluntary services of th( 
Gods, which are sung by the poets, are passions fitting t( 
be attributed not to Gods, but to Daemons, wliose fortuned 
were recorded in memorial of their virtue and powei 
Neither is Aeschylus in the right, when he says, 

Divine Apollo banished from the sky ; 

nor Admetus in Sophocles, saying of a God, 

My cock by crowing led him to the mill. 

The divines of Delphi were far from the truth when the] 
asserted that there was a combat between Apollo and a 
Dragon about the possession of this oracle. No less are 
they to blame who sufl'er the poets or orators in the open 
theatres to act or speak of such matters ; whereby they 
seem to condemn those things which themselves perform 
in their sacred solemnities. Philippus (for this man was 
an historian, and then present in the company), wondering 
at what was last said, enquired what divine solemnities 
they contradicted and condemned who contended one 
against another in the theatres. Even those, quoth Cle- 
ombrotus, which concern the oracle of Delphi, by which 
this city has lately admitted into these ceremonies and sac- 
rifices all the Greeks without Thermopylae, including those 


that dwell as far as the vale of Tempe. For the taberna- 
cle or hut, which is set up every ninth year within the 
court-yard of this temple, is not a representation of the 
Dragon's den, but of some king or tyrant ; as likewise 
the assaulting of it in great silence, by the way termed 
Dolonia, in which they lead hither a youth whose father 
and mother are still living, with torches burning ; and 
havinsr set this tabernacle on fire and overthrown the 
table, tliey run away as fast as they are able through the 
doors of the temple, never looking behind them. In fine, 
this boy's wanderings, together with his servile offices, and 
all the expiatory sacrifices about Tempe, seem to declare 
the commission of some horrid crime in this place. For 
it looks silly to affirm that Apollo, for having killed the 
Dragon, was forced to fly to the farthest parts of Greece 
to be cleansed and purified; and that he there made cer- 
tain ofi'erings and libations, as men do when they design 
the appeasing those vindictive spirits whom we call Alas- 
tores and Palamnaei, which is to say, the revengers of 
such crimes as cannot be forgotten but must have punish- 
ment. It is true, indeed, that the relation which I have 
heard touching this fliglit is very strange and wonderful ; 
but if there be any truth in it, we must not suppose it 
was an ordinary and common matter which happened 
then about this oracle. Yet lest I should be thought, as 
Empedocles says. 

Starting new heads, to wander from the text, 
And make the tlieme we have hi hand perplext, 

I entreat you to let me put a fit conclusion to my discourse 
(for now the time requires it), and to say what several have 
said before me, that when the Daemons who are appointed 
for the government and superintendency of oracles do fail, 
the oracles must of necessity fail too ; and when they de- 
part elsewhere, the divining powers must likewise cease in 
those places ; but when they return again, after a long 



time, the places will begi];i again to speak, like musical ii 
struments handled by those that know how to use them. 

16. Cleombrotus having said thus much, Heracleon tool 
up the discourse, saying : We have never an infidel amon^ 
us, but are all agreed in our opinions touching the Gods 
yet let us have a care, PhiUppus, lest in the heat an^ 
multiplicity of our words we unawares broach som^ 
false doctrine that may tend to impiety. Well ! but, saitl 
Philippus, I hope Cleombrotus has not said any tiling 
which may occasion this caution. His asserting (sayi( 
Heracleon) that they be not the Gods who preside ovei 
the oracles (because we are to suppose them free from alj 
worldly care), but Daemons, or the Gods' officers o\ 
messengers, does not scandalize me ; but to attribute t^ 
these Daemons all the calamities, vexations, and plague^ 
which happen to mortal men, — snatching these violently 
(we may almost say) from the verses of Empedocles, 
and in the end to make them to die like them, this, in mi 
mind, savors of bold presumption. Cleombrotus, having 
asked Philippus who this young man was, and being in 
formed of his name and country, proceeded in this man^ 
ner : I know very well, Heracleon, that the discourse 
used may bear an absurd construction ; but there is n( 
speaking of great matters without laying first great fomiJ 
dations for the proof of one's opinion. But, as for youj 
part, you are not sensible how you contradict even thai 
which you allow ; for granting, as you do, that there b( 
Daemons, but not allowing them to be vicious and mortalj 
you cannot prove there are any at all. For wherein di 
they differ from Gods, supposing they be incorruptible an( 
impassible and not liable to error 1 

17. Whilst Heracleon was musing, and studying how t( 
answer this, Cleombrotus went on, saying : It is not onl^ 
Empedocles who affirms there are bad Daemons, but evei 
Plato, Xenocrates, and Chrysippus ; yea, and Democritusi 


when he prayed he might meet with good spirits, which 
shows that he thought there were bad as well as good 
Daemons. And as to their mortality, I have heard it re- 
ported from a person that was neither fool nor knave, 
being Epitherses, the father of Aemilianus the orator, 
whom some of you have heard declaim. This Epitherses 
was my townsman and a school-master, who told me that, 
designing a voyage to Italy, he embarked himself on a 
vessel well laden both with goods and passengers. About 
the evening the vessel was becalmed about the Isles Echin- 
ades, whereupon their ship drove with the tide till it was 
carried near the Isles of Paxi ; when immediately a voice 
was heard by most of the passengers (who were then 
awake, and taking a cup after supper) calling unto one 
Thanuis, and that with so loud a voice as made all the 
company amazed ; which Thamus was a mariner of Egypt, 
whose name was scarcely known in the ship. He returned 
no answer to the first calls ; but at the third he replied. 
Here ! here ! I am the man. Then the voice said aloud to 
him, When you are arrived at Palodes, take care to make 
it known that the great God Pan is dead. Epitherses told 
us, this voice did much astonish all that heard it, and 
caused much arguing whether this voice was to be obeyed 
or slighted. Thamus, for his part, was resolved, if the 
wind permitted, to sail by the place without saying a word ; 
but if the wind ceased and there ensued a calm, to speak 
and cry out as loud as he was able what he was enjoined. 
Being come to Palodes, there was no wind stirring, and the 
sea was as smooth as glass. Whereupon Thf mus standing 
on the deck, wdth his face towards the land, uttered with a 
loud voice his message, saying. The great Pan is dead. He 
had no sooner said this, but they heard a dreadful noise, 
not only of one, but of several, who, to their thinking, 
groaned and lamented with a kind of astonishment. And 
there being many persons in the ship, an account of this 


was soon spread over Eome, which made Tiberius the 
peror send for Thamus ; and he seemed to give such heed 
to what he told him, that he earnestly enquired who this 
Pan was ; and the learned men about him gave in their 
judgments, that it was the son of Mercury by Penelope. 
There were some then in the company who declared they 
had heard old Aemilianus say as much. 

18. Demetrius then related, that about Britain there 
were many small and desolate islands, some of which were 
called the Isles of Daemons and Demi-gods ; and that he 
himself, at the command of the Emperor, sailed to the 
nearest of those places for curiosity's sake, where he found 
few inhabitants ; but that they were all esteemed by the 
Britains as sacred and divine. Not long after he was 
arrived there, he said, the air and the weather were very 
foul and tempestuous, and there followed a terrible storm 
of wind and thunder ; which at length ceasing, he says, 
the inhabitants told him that one of the Daemons or Demi- 
gods was deceased. For as a lamp, said he, while it is 
lighted, offends nobody with its scent, but when it is ex 
tinguished, it sends out such a scent as is nauseous to every- 
body ; so these great souls, whilst they shine, are mild and 
gracious, without being troublesome to anybody ; but 
when they draw to an end, they cause great storms and 
tempests, and not seldom infect the air with contagious 
distempers. They say farther, that Saturn is detained 
prisoner in one of those islands, and guarded by Briareus, 
being in a sound sleep (for that is the device to hold him 
captive), and that he has several of those Daemons for his 
valets and attendants. 

19. Thus then spake Cleombrotus : I could, says he, 
relate several such stories as these ; but it is sufficient that 
what has been said as yet does not contradict the opinion 
of any one here. And we all know, the Stoics believe the 
same as we do concerning the Daemons, and that amongst 


the great company of Gods which are commonly believed, 
there is but one who is eternal and immortal ; all the rest, 
having been born in time, shall end by death. As to the 
flouts and scoffing of the Epicureans, they are not to be 
regarded, seeing they have the boldness to treat divine 
providence with as little reverence, calling it by no better 
a name than a mere whimsy and old wives' fable. 
Whereas we, on the contrary, assert that their Infinity 
is fabulous and ridiculous, seeing among such endless num- 
bers of worlds there is not one governed by reason or divine 
providence, they having been all made and upheld by 
chance. If we cannot forbear drolling even in matters of 
philosophy, they are most to be ridiculed who bring into 
their disputes of natural questions certain blind, dumb, and 
lifeless images, which appear they know not where nor 
when, which, they say, proceed from bodies, some of which 
are still living, and others long since dead and rotten. 
Now, such people's opinions as these must needs be ex- 
ploded and derided by all rational men ; yet these very 
people shall be offended and angry at a man's saying there 
be Daemons, and that they subsist both by reason and by 
Nature, and continue a long time. 

20. Here Ammonius began to speak, saying: In my 
opinion, Tlieophrastus was in the right, and spoke like a 
philosopher and a divine ; for whoever shall deny what he 
alleges must also reject many things which may happen, 
though we understand not the reasons why they do so. 
And granting what he offers to be true, it carries with it 
many things called impossible and unreal. But as to what I 
have heard the Epicureans allege against the Daemons which 
Empedocles brings in, — as, that it is impossible they can 
be happy and long-lived if they be bad and viciously 
affected, because vice in its own nature is blind and natu- 
rally precipitates itself into such mischiefs as destroy life, 
— that, I must tell you, is vain and idle. For if this 



reasoning be good, it will then follow that Epicurus was 
worse man than Gorgias the sophister, and Metrodorui 
than Alexis the comic actor; for Alexis lived twice as long 
as Metrodorus, and Gorgias a third longer than Epicurus 
For it is in another regard we say virtue is strong and vie 
weak, not in reference to the continuance or dissolution of 
the body ; for we know there are many animals which are 
dull, slow, and heavy, and many disorderly and lustful, 
which live longer than those that are more sagacious and 
quicker of sense. And therefore they are much in the 
wrong in saying the divine nature is immortal because it 
avoideth the things which are ill and mischievous ; for they 
should have supposed the divine nature free from all pos- 
sibility of falling into corruption and alteration. But per« 
haps it will be thought not fair to dispute against those  
that are absent ; I would have therefore Cleombrotus to 
resume his discourse touchino: the vanishins^ and transmi- 
gration of Daemons from one place to another. m 

21. With all my heart, answered Cleombrotus; bnt 1 
shall now say something which will seem more absurd than 
any thing I have heretofore offered, although it seems to 
be grounded on natural reason ; and Plato himself ha 
touched upon it, not positively affirming it, but offering i 
as a probable opinion, although among other philosopher 
it has been much cried out aj^ainst. And seeini? that we 
are fallen into a free discourse, and that a man cannot light 
into better company and a more favorable auditory to tes\ 
the story, as if it were foreign coin, I shall therefore tel] 
you a story which I heard from a stranger, whose acquaint^ 
ance has cost me no small sum of money in searclling aftei 
him in divers countries, whom at length, after much travel, 
I found near the lied Sea. He would converse with mei 
bnt once a year, all the rest of his time (as he told me) h( 
spent among the Nymphs, Nomades, and Daemons. -Hi 
was very free with me, and extremely obliging. I nevei 



saw a more graceful person in all my life ; and thai which 
was very strange in him was, that he was never subject to 
any disease ; once every month he ate the bitter fruit of a 
certain medicinal herb. He spake several languages per- 
fectly well ; his discourse to me was in the Doric dialect ; 
his speech was as charming as the sweetest music, and as 
soon as ever he opened his mouth to speak, there issued 
out of it so sweet and fragrant a breath, that all the place 
was filled with it. Now, as to human learning, such as 
history, he retained the knowledge thereof all the year ; 
but as to the gift of divination, he was inspired therewith 
only one day in the year, in which he went down to the 
sea-side, and there foretold things to come. And thither 
resorted to him the princes and great men of all the 
country, or else their secretaries, who there attended his 
coming at a prefixed da) , and then returned. This person 
attributed divination to the Daemons, and was well pleased 
to hear what we related concerning Delphi. Whatsoever 
we told concerning Bacchus and the sacrifices which are 
offered to him, he knew it all, saying that, as these were 
great accidents which happened to Daemons, so also was 
that which was related of the serpent Python. And he 
affirmed, that he who slew him was not banished for nine 
years, neither did he fly into the Valley of Tempo, but 
was driven out of this world into another, from whence, 
after nine revolutions of the great years, being returned, 
cleansed, and purified, and become a true Phoebus, — that 
is to say, clear and bright, — he had at length recovered 
the superintendence of the Delphic oracle, which in the 
mean time had been committed to the charge of Themis 
He said as much concerning what is related of Typhon 
and the Titans. For he affirmed, they were the battles of 
Daemons against Daemons, and the flights and banishments 
of those that had been vanquished, or the punishments 
inflicted by the Gods on those who had committed such 


acts as Typlion is said to have done against Osiris, and 
Saturn against Uranus, whose honors are much obscured, 
or wholly lost, by being translated into another world. 
For I know that the Solymeans, who are borderers to the 
Lycians, did greatly honor Saturn ; but since he killed 
their princes, Arsalus, Dryus, and Trosobius, he fled into 
some otber country, they knew not where, and he now is 
in a manner forgotten. But they called these three — 
Arsalus, Dryus, and Trosobius — the severe Gods, and the 
Lycians do at this day curse people in their names, as well 
in private as in public. Several other such like examples 
may a man find in the records of the Gods. And if we 
call any of the Daemons by the usual and common names 
of the Gods, on whom they do depend, it is no marvel at 
all, said the stranger ; for they like to be called by the 
Gods on whom they do depend, and from whom they have 
received their honor and power ; even as amongst us men 
one is named Diius, another Athenae, another Apollonius, 
another Dionysius, and still another Hermaeus. And 
there are some who have names imposed on them, as 
it were, by chance, which yet do well agree with their 
tempers ; whereas some carry the names of the Gods 
which do not at all suit with their weaknesses. 

2*2. Here Cleombrotus having paused, his discourse 
seemed strange to all the company, and lieracleon de- 
manded of him, how all this concerned Plato, and how he 
had given occasion to this discourse. Unto which Cleom- 
brotus answered : You do well to put me in mind of it ; 
for first, Plato ever rejected the infinity of worlds, yet 
would determine nothing positively touching the precise 
number of them. And granting the probability of their 
opinion Avho affirmed there were five, one for each element, 
as to his own part, he kept to one, Avhich seems to be his 
genuine opinion ; whereas all other philosophers have been 
afraid to receive and admit the multitude of worlds, as if 


those who did not limit matter to one must needs fall 
hi to troublesome and boundless infinity. But was this 
stranger, said I, of the same opinion with Plato, toucliing 
the number of the worlds ? Or did you not all the while 
ask his opinion in that matter? I was far from failing 
herein, says Cleombrotus, seeing I found him so communi- 
cative and affable to me. He told me, that neither was 
the number of the worlds infinite, neither was there but 
only one, nor five ; but a hundred and eighty-three, Avhich 
were ranged in a triangular form, every side containing 
sixty worlds ; and of the' three remaining, every corner 
had one. That they were so ordered, that one always 
touched another in a circle, like those who dance in a 
ring. That the plain within the triangle is, as it were, the 
foundation and common altar to all those worlds, which is 
called the Plain of Truth, in which lie the designs, moulds, 
ideas, and invariable examples of all things which were, 
or ever shall be ; and about these is Eternity, whence 
flowed Time, as from a river, into these worlds. More- 
over, that the souls of men, if they have lived well in this 
world, do see these ideas once in ten thousand years ; and 
that the most holy mystical ceremonies which are per- 
formed here are no more than a dream of this sacred 
vision. And further, that all the pains which are taken 
in the study of philosophy are to attain to a sight of those 
beauties ; otherwise they were all lost labors. I heard 
him, said he, relate all these things as perfectly, as if they 
had been some religious rites wherein he would have 
instructed me ; for he brought me no proof or demonstra- 
tion to conflrm what he said. 

23. Here, turning myself to Demetrius, I asked him 
what were the words which the wooers of Penelope spake 
in Homer, when they saw Ulysses handling his bow. And 
Demetrius having put me in mind of them, I said : It 
came into my thoughts to say as much of this wonderful 


man. He was indeed " an observer and a cunning thief" 
of opinions and discourses, and a person conversant in all 
sorts of learning, being a Greek born, and perfectly well 
skilled in the studies of his country. For this number of 
worlds shows us that he was neither an Indian nor an 
Egyptian ; but his father was a Dorian Greek of the coun- 
try of Sicily, named Petron, born in the city of Himera, 
who wrote a little book on this subject, which I indeed 
never saw, nor can tell whether it be extant. Bat Hippys, 
a native of Rhegium, mentioned by Phanias the Eresian, 
tells us, it was the doctrine of Petron that there were a 
hundred and eighty-three w^orlds, tacked to one another in 
their first principle ; but he does not explain to us what 
this phrase means, nor does he offer any reason to prove 
this. It is certain, says Demetrius, that Plato himself, 
bringing no argument to evince this point, does hereby 
overthrow this opinion. Yet, says Heracleon, we have 
heard you grammarians say that Homer Avas the first 
author of this opinion, as having divided the universe 
into five worlds, heaven, water, air, earth, and that which 
he calls Olympus ; of which he leaveth two to be com- 
mon, — the earth to all beneath, and Olympus to all above, 
— but the three in the midst between them he attributes 
unto three several Gods. In the like manner Plato, as- 
signing unto the principal parts of the universe the first 
forms and most excellent figures of the bodies, calls them 
five worlds, — those of the earth, water, air, and fire, and 
finally, of that which comprehended all the others, which 
he calls Dodecaedron (which is to say, with twelve bases), 
which, amply extending, is of easy motion and capacity, 
its form and figure being very fit and proper for the revolu- 
tions and motions of the souls. What need is there then, 
cried Demetrius, of bringing in good old Homer? For 
we have had fables enough already. But Plato is far from 
calling the different elements Hve worlds ; for even where 


he disputes against those who assert an infinite number of 
worlds, he affirms, there is only one created of God and 
satisfying him, consisting of the entire corporeal Nature, 
perfect, endued with self-sufficiency, and wanting noth- 
ing ; and therefore we may well think it strange that the 
truth which he spake should occasion the extraA^agancy of 
others. For had he not maintained the world's unity, he 
would in some sort have given a foundation to those who 
affirm an infinite number of worlds ; but that he asserted 
precisely five, this is marvellously strange and far from all 
probability, imless you can (says he, turning himself to 
me) clear this point. How! (said I) are you then resolved 
to drop here your first dispute about oracles, and to take 
up another of no less difficulty? Not so, replied Deme- 
trius ; yet we must take cognizance of this, which does, as 
it were, hold out its hand to us, thougli we shall not re- 
main long upon it, but treat of it by the way, and soon 
return to our first discourse. 

24. First of all then, I say, the reasons which hinder us 
from asserting an infinite number of worlds do not hinder 
us from affirming that there are more than one ; for as 
well in many worlds as in one there may be Providence 
and Divination, while Fortune intervenes only in the small- 
est things ; but most part of the grand and principal things 
have and take their beginnings and changes by order, 
which could not be in an infinite number of worlds. And 
it is more conformable to reason to say that God made 
more than one world ; for, being perfectly good, he wants 
no virtue, and least of all justice and friendship, for they 
do chicfiy become the nature of the Gods. Now God 
hath nothing that is superfluous and useless ; and there- 
fore there must be other inferior Gods proceeding from 
him, and other worlds made by him, towards whom he 
must use these social virtues ; for he cannot exercise, those 
virtues of justice and benignity on himself or any part of 



himself, but on others. So that it is not likely this world 
should float and wander about, without either friend, 
neighbor, or anj^ sort of communication, in an infinite 
vacuum. For we see Nature includes all single things i 
genera and species, like as in vessels or in husks of seeds ; 
for there is nothing to be found in Nature — and nothin 
can have a common notion or appellation — which is no 
qualified both in common and in particular. Now th 
Avorld is not said to be such in common, but in particular 
for its quality is derived from its being an harmoniou 
whole made up of different parts. But yet, there being 
no such thing in Nature as one man alone, one horse, 
one star, one God, one Daemon, why may we not be 
lieve that there is not in Nature one only world and n 
more, but several 1 And if any one shall object against 
me that this world hath likewise but one earth and one 
sea, I can answer him, he is much deceived by not under- 
standing the evidence afforded by like parts. For wejj 
divide the earth into similar parts of the same denomina- 
tion ; for all the parts of the earth are earth, and so of 
the sea; but no part of the world is still the world, it. 
being composed of divers and different natures. ■{ 

25. For as to the inconvenience which some do seem ' 
to fear, and in respect of which they confine all the matter 
within one world, lest, there remaining any thing without, 
it should disturb the composition of this, by the resistances 
and jars which it would make against it, — they have no 
need to dread this. For, there being many worlds, and 
each of them in particular having one definite and deter- 
minate measure and limit of its substance and matter, no 
part thereof will be without order and good disposition, 
nothing will remain superfluous or be cast out as an excre- 
ment. For the reason which belongeth to each world, 
being  able to rule and govern the matter that is allotted 
thereto, will not suffer that any thing shall run out of 


course and order, and rencounter and jumble another 
world, nor likewise that any thing from another shall 
justle or disturb it, there being nothing in Nature infinite 
and inordinate in quantity, nor in motion without reason 
and order. And if perhaps there be any influence that 
passes from the one to the other, this is a fraternal com- 
munication, whereby they mix themselves together, like 
the light of the stars and the influence of their tempera- 
tures, and whereby they themselves do rejoice in behold- 
ing one another with a benign aspect, and give to the Gods 
(who are good and many in number in every world) an 
opportunity of knowing and caressing one another. For 
there is nothing in all this that is impossible, or fabulous, 
or contrary to reason ; though some may think so because 
of the opinion of Aristotle, who saith that all bodies have 
their proper and natural places, by which means the earth 
must on all sides tend to the midst, and the water must 
rest upon it, serving by its weight for a foundation to the 
other lighter elements. Were thisre then many worlds, the 
earth would be often found above the airy and fiery regions, 
and as often under them ; while air and water would be 
sometimes in their natural places, and sometimes in others 
which are their unnatural ; which things being impossible, 
as he thinks, it follows then, there are neither two nor 
more worlds, but one only, which is this here, consisting 
of all kinds of elements, disposed according to Nature, 
agreeably to the diversity of bodies. 

26. But in all this there is more probability than truth. 
For consider, friend Demetrius ; when he saith that some 
bodies tend towards the midst, which is to say, downwards, 
the otliers from the midst, that is, upward, and a third 
ort move round about the midst, what does he mean by the 
midst? This cannot be understood in respect of a vacuum, 
there being no such thing in Nature, as he says himself; 
and, moreover, those that do allow it say that it can have 

VOL. IV. 8 


no middle, no more than beginning and end ; for begin 
ning and end are extremities, but that which is infinity 
everybody knows, is without an end. But supposing wc 
should be necessitated to admit a middle in a vacuum, it it 
impossible to comprehend and imagine the difference in 
the motions of bodies towards it, because there is neithe: 
in this vacuum any power attractive of the body, nor i 
the bodies any inclination or affection to tend on all sidei 
to this middle. And it is no less difficult to imagine thai 
bodies can move of themselves towards an incorporei 
place, or receive any motion from it. This middle the 
must be understood not locally, but corporeally. For thi 
world being a mass and union consisting of different bodj 
ies joined together, this diversity of them must beget diffe 
ent motions from one another ; which appears in that each 
of these bodies changing its substance does at the same 
time change its place. For subtilization and rarefactio 
dissipate the matter which springeth from the midst an 
ariseth upwards ; whereas, on the contrary, condensation 
and constipation depress and drive it down towards the 

27. On these points it is not necessary to discourse any 
longer in this place. For whatever cause a man supposes 
shall produce such passions and changes, that very cause 
will contain each of these worlds in itself; because each 
of them has its sea and land, each its proper middle, and 
each its passions and change of bodies, and the nature^ 
and power which contain and preserve each in its place ' 
and being. For that which is without, whether it be 
nothing at all or an infinite vacuum, cannot allow any mid 
die, as we have already said. But there being several 
worlds, each has its proper middle apart ; so that in eacl 
of them there will be motions proper to bodies, some tend 
ing down to the midst, others mounting aloft from the 
midst, others moving round about it, according as they 




themselves do distinguish motions. And he who asserts 
there are many middles, and that heavy bodies from all 
sides do tend unto one alone, is like to him who chall af- 
firm that the blood of several men runs from all parts 
into one vein, or that all their brains should be contained 
within one and the same membrane ; supposing it absurd, 
that all natural bodies which are solid should not be in one 
place, and the rare in another. He that thus thinketh is 
certainly a mean philosopher ; and no better is he who 
will not allow the whole to have all parts in their order, 
rank, and natural situation. What could be more foolish, 
than for a man to call that a world which had a moon 
within it so situated, as if a man should have his brains 
in his heels, and his heart in his forehead ? Whereas there 
is no absurdity or inconveniency, if, in supposing several 
distinct worlds separated from one another, a man should 
distinguish and separate their parts. For in each of them 
the earth, sea, and sky will be placed and situated in their 
proper places, and each of these worlds may have its su- 
perior, inferior, circular, and middle part, not in respect 
of another world, nor in reference to what is without, but 
to what is within itself. 

28. And as to the argument which some do draw from 
a stone supposed to be placed without the world, it 
neither proves rest nor motion ; for how could it remain 
suspended, seeing it is by nature heavy, or move towards 
the midst of the world, as other ponderous bodies, seeing 
it is neither part of it nor like it? And as to that earth 
which is fixed and environed by another world, we must 
not wonder, considering its weightiness, if it does not drop 
down, seeing it is upheld by a certain natural force per- 
taining to it. For if we shall take high and low not with- 
in the world but without, we shall find ourselves involved 
in the same difficulties as Epicurus was when he made his 
little indivisible atoms to move and tend to those places 


which are under foot, as if the vacuum had feet, or its irij 
finite space would permit one to talk of high or low. Inl 
deed, a man would marvel what should cause Chrysippuii 
to say, that the world was placed and situated directly h 
the midst, and that the matter thereof, from all eternity 
having possessed itself of the midst, yet is so compactec 
together that it remains for ever. For he writes this ii 
his Fourth Book of Possible Things, vainly iniaginin; 
there is a middle in that vast emptiness, and still more a1 
surdly attributing unto that middle, which is not, the cause 
of the world's stability and continuance ; he having oftei 
said in other writings of his that the substance is upheh 
and governed, partly by the motions tending to the midsl 
of it, and partly by others parting from the midst of it. 

29. As to the other oppositions which the Stoics make, 
who should fear them ? As when they demand, how it is 
possible to maintain a fatal destiny and a divine provi- 
dence, and how it can be otherwise but that we must ad- 
mit of several Jupiters, wdien we assert the plurality of 
worlds. Now if there be an inconveniency in admitting 
many Jupiters. their opinions will appear far more absurd ; 
for they imagine there are suns, and moons, Apollos, Di- 
anas, and Neptunes innumerable, in innumerable changes 
and revolutions of worlds. But where is the necessity 
which lies upon us to grant that there must be many Jupi- 
ters if there be many worlds, seeing that each of them may 
be subject to a sovereign governor of the whole, a God 
endued with a suitable mind and ability, like to him whom 
we name the Lord and Father of all things ? Or what 
shall hinder us from assertins: that the several worlds must' 
be subject to the providence and destiny of Jupiter, and 
that he has an eye to all things, directing all, and admin- 
istering to them the principles, seeds, and causes of all 
things which are made 1 For, while we often sec here a 
body composed of several other distinct bodies, — for ex- 


ample, the assembly of a town, an army, or a chorus, — 
in each of which bodies there is life, prudence, and un- 
derstanding ; so it cannot be impossible that, in the whole 
universe, ten or fifty or a hundred worlds which may be in 
it should all use the same reason, and all correspond with 
the same principle. For this order and disposition is very 
suitable to the Gods ; for we must not make them kings 
of a swarm of bees who never stir out of their hives, or 
keep them fast imprisoned in matter, like those who affirm 
the Gods to be certain dispositions of the air, and powers 
of waters and fire, infused and mixed within, which arise 
and spring up together with the world, and in time are to 
be burnt and end with it, — not afi'ording them the liberty of 
coachmen and pilots, but nailing them down to their bases 
like statues and images. For they enclose the Gods with- 
in matter, and that in so strict a manner as makes them 
liable to all the changes, alterations, and decays of it. 

30. It is certainly more agreeable to the nature of the 
Gods to say that they are wholly at liberty, like Castor and 
Pollux, ready to succor such as are overtaken by bad 
weather at sea ; for when they appear, the winds cease and 
the waves are calmed. Not that they navigate and are 
partakers of the same peril ; but they only appear in the 
sky, and the danger is over. Thus do the Gods visit each 
world, and rule and provide for all things in them. Jupi- 
ter in Homer cast not his eyes far from the city of Troy 
into Thrace, and to the nomad Scythians along the river 
Ister ; but the true Jupiter has several seemly and agree- 
able passages for his majesty from one world into another, 
not looking into the infinite vacuum without, nor regarding 
himself and nothing else, as some have imagined, but 
weighing the deeds of Gods and men, and the motions and 
revolutions of the stars. For the Divinity does not hate 
variety and changes, but takes great pleasure in them, as 
one m;iy conjecture by the circuits, conversions, and muta- 




tions observable in the heavens. And therefore I conch ide 
that the infinite number of worlds is a chimera, which has 
not the least probability of truth, and which cannot by any 
means admit of any God, but must be wholly guided by 
chance and fortune. Whereas the government and provi- 
dence of a certain definite number of worlds has nothing in 
it that seems more laborious and unworthy than that which 
IS employed in the direction of one alone, which is trans, 
formed, renewed, and reformed an infinite number o: 

31. Having said this, I paused. And Philippus imme 
diately cried out : Whether this be certain or not, I wi 
not be too positive ; but if we carry God beyond one worl 
it would more gratify me to know why we should maki 
him the Creator only of Hve worlds and no more, and wh 
proportion this number bears to that of the worlds, than 
know why the word E I was inscribed upon this temple 
For this is neither a triangular, a quadrate, a perfect, n 
a cubic number, neither does it yield any elegancy to sue 
as are delighted in this kind of sciences. As to what coi 
corns the argument drawn from the number of element 
which Plato seems to have touched upon, it is obscure ai 
improbable, and will not afi'ord this consequence, — thai 
as tliere are formed from matter five sorts of regular bodiej 
which have equal angles and equal sides, and are environ( 
with equal superficies, so there were from the beginnii 
five worlds, made and formed of these five bodies. 

32. Yet Theodorus the Solian, said I, when he reac 
Plato's mathematics to his scholars, both keeps to the te: 
and clearly expounds it, when he saith, the? pyramid, o( 
tahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron (which Plato lays 
down as the first bodies) are all beautiful both in their 
proportions and equalities ; Nature cannot contrive and 
make better than these, nor perhaps so good. Yet they 
have not all the same constitution and origin ; for the least 


and slightest, of the five is the pyramid ; the greatest, which 
has most parts, is the dodecahedron ; and of the other 
two, the 'icosahedron is greater than the octahedron by 
more than twofold, if you compare their number of trian- 
gles. And therefore it is impossible they should be all 
made at once, of one and the same matter ; for the small- 
est and most subtile have been certainly more pliable to the 
hand of the workman who moved and fashioned the mat- 
ter, and consequently were sooner made and shaped, than 
those which have stronger parts and a greater mass of 
bodies, and whose composition was more laborious and 
difficult, like the dodecahedron. Whence it follows that 
the pyramid was the first body, and not one of the others, 
which were by nature last produced. Now the way also 
to avoid this absurdity is to separate and divide matter into 
five worlds ; here the pyramid (for she is the first and most 
simple), there the octahedron, and there the icosahedron ; 
and out of that which exists first in every one of these the 
rest draw their original by the concretion of parts, by which 
every thing is changed into every thing, as Plato himself 
shows us by examples throughout. But it will suffice us 
briefly to learn thus much. Air is engendered by the ex- 
tinction of fire, and the same being subtilized and rarefied 
produceth fire. Now by the seeds of these two we may 
find out the passions and transmutations of all. The semi- 
nary or beginning of fire is the pyramid, consisting of 
twenty-four first triangles ; and the octahedron is the semi- 
nary of the air, consisting of forty-eight triangles of the 
same kind. So that the one element of air stands upon 
two of fire, joined together and condensed. And again, 
one body or element of air is divided into two of fire, which 
again, becoming thick and hard, is changed into water ; so 
that, throughout, that which comes first into light gives 
easily birth unto the rest by transmutation. And so it 
comes to pass, that there is not merely one first principle 


of all things ; but one thing is so mixed with the origin 
of another, in the several changes and alterations of nature 
by motion, that the same name and denomination belong 
equally to all. 

33. But here Ammonius interrupted him, and said: 
Notwithstanding that those things are so peremptorily and 
so pompously asserted by Theodorus, yet I shall Vv^onder if 
he be not forced to make use of such suppositions as are 
destructive of themselves and one of another. For he will 
have it, that the ^ye worlds he speaks of were not com- 
posed all at one time, but that that which was subtilest, and 
which gave least trouble in the making, came out first into 
being. And as if it were a consequent, and not a repug- 
nant thing, he supposes that the matter does not always 
drive out into existence that which is most subtile and sim- 
ple, but that sometimes the thickest, grossest, and heaviest 
parts do anticipate the more subtile in generation. But' 
besides this, supposing that there be five primitive bodies 
or elements, and consequently that there be as many worlds, 
there are but four of those orders which he discourses ra- 
tionally concerning. For as to the cube, he takes it away 
and removes it, as it were in a game of counters ; for it is 
naturally unfit either to turn into any thing besides itself, 
or to yield that any of those other bodies be converted into 
it, inasmuch as the triangles of which they consist be not 
of the same sort. For all the rest consist in common of 
demi-triangles (or halves of equilateral triangles) ; but the M 
proper subject of Avhich the cube is particularly composed 
is the right isosceles triangle, which admits no inclina- 
tion to a de mi-triangle, nor can possibly be united and 
incorporated with it. If there be then five bodies, and con- 
sequently five worlds, and in each of these worlds the 
principle of generation be that body which is first produced, 
it must happen that, where the cube is the first in genera- 
tion, none of the rest can possibly be produced, it being 


contrary to its nature to change into any of them. Not to 
msist here, that Theoclorus and those of his mind make 
the element or principle of which the dodecahedron is 
composed to be different from the rest, it not being that 
triangle which is termed scalene, with three unequal sides, 
out of which the pyramid, octahedron, and icosahedron, 
according to Plato, are produced ; so tliat (said Ammonius 
laughing) you must solve these objections, or offer some- 
thing new concerning the matter in debate.* 

34. And I answered him, that, for my part, I knew not 
at present how to say any thing which carried more prob- 
ability. But perhaps (said I) it is better for a man to give 
an account of his own opinion than of another's. There- 
fore I say that, there being supposed from the beginning 
of things two several natures contrary to each other, — 
the one sensible, mutable, subject to generation, corruption, 
and change every way, the other spiritual and intelligible, 
and abiding always in the same state, — it would be very 
strange, my friends, to say that the spiritual nature admit- 
teth of division and hath diversity and difference in it, and 
to be angry if a man will not allow the passible and cor- 
poreal nature to be wholly united in itself, without dividing 
it into many parts. For it is most suitable to the perma- 
nent and divine natures to be tied and linked to each other, 
and to avoid, as much as is possible, all division and separa- 
tion ; and yet, amongst incorporeal natures the power of 
diversity works greater differences in regard to essential 
forms and reason, than those of distance of place in the 
corporeal world. And therefore Plato, refuting tliose who 
hold this proposition, that all is one, asserts these five 
grounds and principles of all, — entity, identity, diversity, 
motion, and rest ; which five immaterial principles being 
admitted, it is no marvel if Nature have made every one of 

* See Plato's discussion of triangles and tlie regular solids, Timneus, pp. 68 C- 
66 C, with the commentaries See also Grote's Plato, Vol. III. p. 2G0. (G.) 


these to be an imitation, though not exact, yet as perfect 
and agreeable as could be drawn, of a correspondent prin- 
ciple in the corporeal mystery, partaking, as much as cau 
be, of its power and virtue. For it is very plain that the 
cube is most proper and agreeable to repose and rest, by 
reason of the stabiUty and firmness of those plain surfaces 
of which it consists. And as to the pyramid, everybody 
soon sees and acknowledges the nature of fire in it, by the 
slenderncss of its decreasing sides, and the sharpness of its 
angles ; and the nature of the dodecahedron, apt to com- 
prehend all the other figures, may seem more properly to 
be the corporeal image of Ens, or Being in the general, 
indifferent to this or that particular form or shape. And 
of the other two which remain, the icosahedron rcsembleth 
the principle of diversity, and the octahedron principally 
partakes of the identical nature. And thus from one of 
these the air is produced, which partakes of and borders 
upon every substance, under one and the same outward 
form and appearance ; and the other has afforded us the 
element of water, which by mixture may put on the great- 
est diversity of qualities. Therefore if Nature requires a 
certain uniformity and harmony in all things, it must be 
then that there are neither- more nor fewer worlds in the 
corporeal nature than there are patterns or samples in 
the incorporeal, to the end that each pattern or sample in 
the invisible nature may have its own primary position and 
power, answering to a secondary or derivative in the differ- 
ent constitution or composition of bodies. 

85. And this may serve for an answer to those that won- 
der at our dividing Nature, subject to generation and alter- 
ation, into so many kinds. But I entreat you all further, 
attentively to consider with yourselves that, of the two first 
and supreme principles of all things, — that is to say, the 
unity, and the indefinite binary or duality, — this latter, 
being the element and chief origin of all deformity and dis- 


order, is termed infinity, and on the contrary, the nature of 
unity, determining and limiting the void infinity, which has 
no proportion nor termination, reduces it into form, and 
renders it in some manner capable of receiving a denomi- 
nation which belongs only to sensible and particular things. 
Now these two general principles appear first in number ; 
for the multitude is indeed no number, unless a certain 
form of the matter resulting out of indeterminate infinity 
is cut off, and bounded within respective limits, either 
shorter or longer. For then each multitude is made num- 
ber, when once it is determined and limited by unity ; 
whereas, if we take away unity, then the indeterminate 
duality brings all into confusion, and renders it without 
harmony, without number or measure. Now, the form not 
being the destruction of matter, but rather the order and 
the beauty of it, both these principles therefore must be 
within number, from whence ariseth the chief disparity and 
greatest difference. For the infinite and indeterminate 
principle is the cause of the even number ; and the other 
better principle, which is the unity, is the father (as it 
were) of the odd number. So that^ the first even number 
is two, and the first odd number is three ; of which is com- 
posed ^ve by conjunction, which is by its composition com- 
mon to both, but of power or nature not even but odd. 
For, since sensible and corporeal nature is divided into sever- 
al parts, on account of its inborn necessity of diversity, it 
was necessary that the number of these parts should not 
be either the first even number, nor yet the first uneven or 
odd, but a third, consisting of both ; to the end that it 
might be procreated out of both principles, viz. of that 
which causeth the even number, and of that which pro- 
duceth the odd ; for the one cannot be parted from the 
other, inasmuch as both have the nature, power, and force 
of a principle. These two principles being then joined 
together, the better one being mightier prevails over the in- 



determinate infinity or duality, which divideth the corj: 
nature ; and thus the matter being divided, the unity inter 
posing itself between has hindered the universe from being 
divided and parted into two equal portions. But there has 
been a multitude of worlds caused by the diversity and dis- 
agreement of the infinite Nature ; but this muUitude was 
brought into an odd number by the virtue and power of 
identity, or the finite principle ; and it was therefore odd, ^ 
because the better principle would not suffer Nature to 
stretch itself further than was fitting*. For if there had 
been nothing but pure and simple unity, the matter would 
have known no separation ; but being mixed with the 
dividing nature of duality, it has by this means suffered 
separation and division ; yet it has stopped here, by the 
odd numbers being the superior and master to the even. 

36. This is the reason why the ancients were used to 
express numbering or reckoning by mnuiiaaaOm, to count by 
Jioes. And I am of opinion that that word Tidna, all, is 
derived ivom. m'm, which is to say Jive^ five being com- 
pounded of the first numbers. For all the other numbers 
being afterwards multiplied by others, they produce num- 
bers different from themselves ; whereas five, being multi- 
plied by an even number, producetli a perfect ten, and M 
multiplied by an odd number, rcpresenteth itself again ; 
not to insist that it is composed of the two first tetragons 
or quadrate numbers (unity and four), and that, being the 
first number whose square is equivalent to the two squares 
before it, it composeth the fairest of right angled triangles, 
and is the first number which containeth the sesquilateral 
])roportion. Perhaps all these reasons are not very perti- 
nent to the discourse of the present dispute, it being better 
to allege that in this number there is a natural virtue of 
dividing, and that nature divideth many things by this 
number. For in ourselves she has placed five senses, and 
^YO parts of the soul, the vital, the sensitive, the concupis- 



cible, the irascible, and the rational ; and as many fingers 
on each hand ; and the most fruitful seed disperseth itself 
but into five, for we read nowhere of a womxn that 
brought forth more than five at a birth. And the Egyptians 
also tell ns that the Goddess Rhea was delivered of five 
Gods, giving us to understand in covert terms that of the 
same matter were procreated five worlds. And in the 
universe, the earth is divided into five zones, the heaven 
into five circles, — two arctics, two tropics, and one equi- 
noctial in the midst. There are five revolutions of planets 
or wandering stars, inasmuch as the Sun, Venus, and 
Mercury make but one and the same revolution. And the 
construction of the world consists of an harmonical measure; 
even as our musical chords consist of the posture of ^ye 
tetrachords, ranged orderly one after another, that is to say, 
those called vmircov, fitacov, Gvvt]fi[At-vcov, dis^evyfitrcov, and vTtSQ^olamv.* 
The intervals also which are used in singing are five, diesis, 
semitone, tone, the tone and a half, and the double tone ; 
so that Nature seems to delight more in making all things 
according to the number five, than she does in producing 
them in a spherical form, as Aristotle writeth. 

37. But it will perhaps be demanded, why Plato refers 
the number of worlds to the five regular bodies or figures, 
saying that God made use of the number five in the fabric 
of the world, as it were transcribing and copying this ; and 
then, having proposed a doubt and question of the number 
of the worlds, whether there be five, or one only, thereby 
clearly shows that his conjecture is grounded on this 
conceit of the five regular bodies. If now we may make 
a probable conjecture as to his opinion, we may believe 
that of necessity, with the diversity of these figures and 
bodies, there must presently ensue a difference and diver- 
sity of motions ; as he himself teacheth, affirming that 
whatever is subtilized or condensed does, at the same time 

* See note prefixed to Plutarch's Treatise on Music. (G.) 


with its alteration of substance, alter and change its place. 
For if from the air there is engendered fire, when the 
octahedron is dissolved and vanished into pyramids, or, on 
the contrary, if the air be produced from the fire pressed 
and squeezed up into the form of the octahedron, it is not 
possible it should remain there where it was before, but it 
flies and runs to another place, forcing and combating 
whatever stands in the way to oppose it. And he shows 
this more clearly and evidently by an example and simili- 
tude of fans, and such like things as drive away the chaff 
from the corn ; for thus the elements driving the matter, 
and being driven by it, do always bring lii^e to like, some 
taking up this place, others that, before the world was 
digested as now it is. The matter then being in that con- 
dition in which it is likely every thing is where God is not 
present, the five first qualities, or first bodies, having each 
their proper and peculiar inclinations and motions, went 
apart, not wholly and altogether, nor throughly divided 
and separated one from another; for when all was huddled 
in confusion, such as were surmounted went continually 
against their nature with the mightier. And therefore, 
some going on one side and others going on the other, 
hence it has happened that there have been as many por- jl| 
tions and distinctions as there are divers kinds of first 
bodies ; one of fire, not wholly pure, but inclining towards 
the form of fire ; another of an ethereal nature, yet not 
wholly so, but inclining thereto ; another of earth, not 
simple and mere earth, but inclining to the form of earth. 
But especially there was a communication of water and air ; 
for these, as we have already mentioned, went their ways, 
replenished with divers other kinds. For God did not 
separate and distribute the matter, but having found it thus 
carelessly dissipated in itself, and each part being carried 
away in such great disorder and confusion, he ranged and 
ordered it into symmetry and proportion ; and setting 



reason over each as a guardian and governor, he made 
as many worlds as there were first bodies. However, in 
respect to Ammonius, let these Platonical notions pass for 
what they are worth. For my part, I will never be over- 
zealous in this precise number of worlds ; but this I will 
say, that those who hold there are more than one, yet not 
an infinite number, have as good grounds as others, seeing 
the matter does naturally spread itself and is diffused into 
many parts, — not resting in one, while yet it is contrary 
to reason that it should be infinitely extended. In short, 
let us here especially be mindful of the wise precepts of 
the Academy, and preserve ourselves upon such slippery 
ground as the controversy concerning the infinity of 
worlds, by refusing a too confident assent. 

38. And when I had finished this discourse, Demetrius 
said : Lamprias is very much in the right ; for the Gods 
deceive us with multiplicities, not of shadows and impost- 
ures (as Euripides* expresseth it), but even of realities and 
substances themselves, when we presume to be positive, as 
if we understood them in things of such weight and mo- 
ment. But we must, as he advises us, return to our first 
question, which we seem to have forgotten. For what 
was said concerning the oracles remaining dumb and use- \ 
less when the Daemons who presided over them were 
departed, even as we see musical instruments yield no har- 
mony when the musician does not handle them, — this, I 
say, brings a greater question into debate, namely toucliing 
the cause and power by which these Daemons use to make 
their prophets and prophetesses to be ravished with enthu- 
siasm and filled with fiintastical imaginations. For to say 
the oracles are silent as being forsaken by the Daemons is 
nothing, unless we be first shown how (when they are 
present and govern them) they set them at work and make 
them prophesy. 

* See Euripides, Frag. 925. 


Ammonius then taking up the discourse, Do you think 
said he, that the Daemons are any thing else 

Than wandering spirits clothed in finest air,* 

as Hesiod says 1 For as to my part, I think the same di 
ference which there is between one man and another 
when they act in a tragedy or comedy, is also to be founc 
in this life in souls that are clothed with bodies. So tha 
there is nothing in this which is strange or contrary t( 
reason, if souls meeting with other souls do imprint or 
them visions and apprehensions of future things, just ai 
we show several things already done and come to pass, anc 
prognosticate of those which have not yet happened 
not only by the help of speech, but also by letters anc 
writings, or by a bare touch, or a single look; — unles! 
you, Lamprias, are of another opinion. For we heard bu 
A'ery lately, that you discoursed at large upon this subjec 
with the strangers that came to Lebadea ; but he thai 
gave us this information could give us no particular accouni 
of what passed. No wonder, replied I, for several avoca- 
tions and businesses intervening, occasioned by the oracl 
and the solemn sacrifice that was then performing, mad 
our discourse very broken and interrupted. But now, say 
Ammonius, you have auditors at leisure, that are inquisi 
tive and desirous of instruction, so that you may spea 
freely, and expect all the candor and consideration which 
you can desire. 

39. And the rest of the company making the like ex-' 
hortations, having paused a while, I began after this man- 
ner: It so happened, Ammonius, that you did, without 
your knowledge, give occasion to the discourse which was 
then held ; for if the Daemons be souls and spirits sepa- 
rated from bodies and bavins: no communication with 
them, as you affirm, but according to the divine poet 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 125. 


Are our kind guardians, walking here their rounds,* 

why do we deprive the spirits and souls which are in 
bodies of the same power by which Daemons may foresee 
and foretell things to come ? For it is not likely souls do 
acquire any property and power, when they abandon their 
bodies, wherewith they were not endowed before ; but 
rather, we should think that they had always the same 
parts, but in a worse degree, when they were mixed with 
bodies, some of them being inapparent and hid, and others 
weak and obscure, like those who see through a thick mist 
or move in water, heavily and uneasily performing their 
operations, much desiring to be cured and so to recover 
what is their own, and to be discharged and purified of 
that which covers them. For as the sun does not then 
properly become bright when he has escaped out of the 
cloud, — for he is always so, though to our eyes, being 
clouded, he seems obscure and dark, — so the soul acquires 
not then the faculty of divining when gotten clear of the 
body, as from a cloud, but having the same before, is 
blinded by the commixture and confusion which she has 
wdth the mortal body. And this cannot seem strange or 
incredible, if we consider nothing else in the soul but the 
faculty of remembrance, which is, as it were, the reverse 
of divination, and if we reflect upon the miraculous power 
it hath of preserving things past, or, we should rather say, 
things present, for of what is past nothing remains, and 
all things do come into being and perish in the same mo- 
ment, whether they be actions, or words, or passions ; they 
all pass by and vanish as soon as they appear ; for time, 
like the course of a river, passeth on, and carries every 
thing along with it. But this retentive faculty of the soul 
seizes upon these in some mysterious way, and gives a 
form and a being to those things which are no longer 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 123. 

VOL. IV. 4 


present. For the oracle which was given to those ol 
Thessaly, touching Arne, enjoined them to declare 

The deaf man's hearing, and the blind man's sight. 

But memory is to us the hearing of things without voice 
and the sight of things invisible ; so that, as I now said! 
no marvel, if retaining the things which are no longer i 
being, the soul anticipates several of those which are stil 
to come ; for these do more concern her, and she doe( 
naturally sympathize with them, inclining and tending t 
things which are future ; whereas, as to those which ar 
past and have an end, she leaves them behind her, onl 
retaining the bare remembrance of them. 

40. Our souls then, having this inbred power, — thougl 
weak, obscure, and hardly able to express their apprehed 
sions, — yet sometimes spread forth and recover themi 
selves, either in dreams or in the time of sacrifice oi 
religious worship, when the body is well purified and enduec 
with a certain temperature proper to this effect, or whei 
the rational and speculative part, being released and free( 
from the solicitude after present things, joineth with th( 
irrational and imaginative part to think of and represent 
what is to come. For it is not, as Euripides saith, that h( 
is the best prophet who guesses well ; but he is the wisest 
man, not whose guess succeeds well in the event, but who,| 
whatever the event be, takes reason and probability for hij 
guide. Now the faculty of divining, like bhmk paper, \i 
void of any reason or determination of itself, but is sus- 
ceptible of fantasies and presentiments ; and without an; 
ratiocination or discourse of reason, it touches on that which] 
is to come, w^hen it has withdrawn itself farthest from tin 
present. And from this it withdraws by means of a cer- 
tain disposition of body, by which that state is produced] 
which we call inspiration or enthusiasm. Now the bodyj 
is sometimes endued naturally with this disposition ; but 


most times the earth casts forth to men the sources and 
causes of several other powers and faculties, some of which 
carry men beside themselves into ecstasy and phrensy, and 
produce maladies and mortalities ; others again are good, 
gentle, and profitable, as appears by those who have had 
the experience of them. But this spring, or wind, or 
spirit of divination is most holy and divine, whether it 
comes by itself through the air, or through the water of 
some spring. For, being infused and mixed with the body, 
it produceth an odd temperature and strange disposition in 
the soul, which a man cannot exactly express, though he 
may resemble or compare it to several things. For by 
heat and dilatation it seems to open certain pores that 
make a discovery of future things ; like wine, which, caus- 
ing fumes to ascend up into the head, puts the spirits into 
many unusual motions, and reveals things that were laid 
up in secret. For drunkenness and phrensy, if we will 
believe Euripides, have a near approach to the nature of 
divination, when the soul, being hot and iiery, banishes 
those fears to which prudence and sobriety are subject, 
and which extinguish and quench the spirit of divination. 
41. Furthermore, a man may say that dryness, being 
mixed with heat, attenuateth and subtilizeth the spirit, and 
makes it pure and of an ethereal nature and consistence ; 
for the soul itself, according to Heraclitus, is of a dry con- 
stitution ; whereas moisture does not only dim the sight 
and dull the hearing, but when mingled with the air and 
touching the superficies of mirrors, dusketh the brightness 
of the one and takes away the light of the other. Or per- 
haps, on the contrary, by some refrigeration and condensa- 
tion of this spirit, like the tincture and hardening of iron, 
this part of the soul which does prognosticate may become 
more intense and get a perfect edge. Just as tin being 
melted with brass (which of itself is rare and spongcous) 
does drive it nearer and make it more massy and solid, and 


withal causeth it to look more bright and resplendent ; s<| 
I cannot see any reason, why this prophetical exhalatioi 
having some congruence and affinity with sonls, may n( 
iill up that which is lax and empty, and drive it more clos( 
together. For there are many things which have a refei 
ence and congruity one with another ; as the bean is us( 
ful in dyeing purple, and soda in dyeing saffron, if the] 
be mixed therewith ; and as Empedocles says, 

Linen is dyed witli the bright saffron's flower. 

And we have learned of you, Demetrius, that only th( 
river Cydnus cleaneth the knife consecrated to Apollo, ii 
the city of Tarsus in Cilicia, and that there is no other, 
water which can scour and cleanse it. So in the town ol 
Olympia, they temper ashes with the water of the rivei 
Alpheus, with which they make a mortar Avherewith the] 
plaster the altar there ; but if this be attempted to be don( 
by the water of any other river, it is all to no purpose. 

42. It is no wonder then if, the earth sending up man] 
exhalations, only those of this sort transport the soul with' 
a divine fury, and give it a faculty of foretelling future 
things. And, without a doubt, w^hat is related touching 
the oracle of this place does herewith agree ; for it is here 
where this faculty of divining first showed itself, by means 
of a certain shepherd, who chanced to fall down and be- 
gan to utter enthusiastic speeches concerning future events; 
of which at first the neighbors took no notice ; but when 
they saw what he foretold came to pass, they had him in 
admiration ; and the most learned among the Delphians, 
speaking of this man, are used to call him by the name of 
Coretas. The soul seems to me to mix and join itself with 
this prophetic exhalation, just as the eye is affected with 
the light. For the eye, which has a natural property and 
faculty of seeing, would be wholly useless without the 
light ; so the soul, having this faculty and property of fore- 


seeing future tilings, as an eye, has need of a proper ob- 
ject which may enUghten and sharpen it. And therefore ' y{ 
the ancients took the sun and Apollo to be the same God ; 
and those who understand the beauty and wisdom of anal- 
ogy or proportion do tell us, that as the body is to the soul, 
the sight to the mind, and light to truth, so is the sun with 
reference to Apollo ; affirming the sun to be the offspring ! 
proceeding perpetually from Apollo, who is eternal and 
who continually bringeth him forth. For as the sun en- 
lightens and excites the visive powers of the senses, so 
Apollo does excite the prophetic virtue in the soul. 

43. Those then tliat imagined that both were one and the 
same God have with good reason dedicated and consecrated 
this oracle to Apollo and to the earth, deeming it to be the 
sun which imprinted this temperature and disposition on 
the earth, from whence arose this predictive exhalation. 
For as Ilesiod, with far better reason than other philoso- 
phers, calls the earth 

The well-fixed seat of all things ; * 

so do we esteem it eternal, immortal, and incorruptible. 
But as to the virtues and faculties which are in it, we be- 
lieve that some fail in one place, and spring up anew in 
another. It seems also (for so some experiments incline 
us to conjecture) that these transitions, changes, and revo- 
lutions in process of time do circulate and return to the 
same place, and begin again where they left off. In some 
countries we see lakes and whole rivers and not a few 
fountains and springs of hot waters have sometimes failed 
and been entirely lost, and at others have fled and ab- 
sconded themselves, being hidden and concealed under the 
earth ; but perhaps some years after do appear again in the 
same place, or else run hard by. And so of metal mines, 
some have been quite exhausted, as the silver ones about 

* Ilesiod, Theogony, 117. 



Attica ; and the same has happened to the veins of bras^ 
ore in Euboea, of which the best blades were made an< 
hardened in cold w^ater, as the poet Aeschylus tells us, 

Taking his sword, a right Euboean blade. 

It is not long since the quarry of Carystus has ceased t( 
yield a certain soft stone, which was wont to be drawn inl 
to a fine thread ; for I suppose some here have seen towels] 
net-work, and coifs woven of that thread, which couh 
not be burnt ; but when they were soiled with using, pet 
pie flung them into the fire, and took them thence whit( 
and clean, the fire only purifying them. But all this is van-- 
ished ; and there is nothing but some few fibres or hair 
threads, lying up and down scatteringly in the grain of the 
stones, to be seen now in the quarry. 

44. Aristotle and his followers affirm that all this pn 
ceeds from an exhalation within the earth, and when this 
fails or removes to another place, or revives and recovers 
itself again, the phenomena proceeding fr jm them do s( 
too. The same must we say of the prophetical exhalations 
which spring from the earth, that their virtue also is not 
immortal, but may wax old and decay ; for it is not un- 
likely that great floods of rain and showers do extinguisl 
them, and that the claps of thunder do dissipate them ; o] 
else (which I look upon to be the principal cause) the; 
are sunk lower into the earth or utterly destroyed by the 
shock of earthquakes and the confusion that attends them, 
as here in this place there still remain the tragical monu- 
ments of that great earthquake that overthrew the cityj 
And in the town of Orchomenus, they say, when the pes- 
tilence carried away such multitudes of people, the orach 
of Tiresias of a sudden ceased, and remains mute to thij 
day. And whether the like has not happened to the ora- 
cles in Cilicia, as we have heard it hath, no man can bettei 
inform us than you, Demetrius. 


45. I cannot tell, says Demetrius, how things are at 
present in those parts, for you all know I have been long 
absent from thence ; but when I was there, both that of 
Mopsus and of Amphilochus flourished and were in great 
esteem. And as to the oracle of Mopsus, I can from my 
own knowledge tell you a strange story about it. The 
Governor of Cicilia was a man inclining to scepticism 
about the Gods, — through the infii-mity of his unbelief, I 
think, for otherwise he was an oppressor and a worthless 
man, — and he had about him several Epicureans, who are 
wont to mock at the belief of such things as seem contra- 
ry to reason, as they themselves say, standing much upon 
their goodly natural philosophy. He sent a freed servant 
of his to the oracle, like a spy into an enemy's camp, with 
a letter sealed, wherein was the question he was to ask 
the oracle, nobody knowing the contents thereof. This 
man then, as the custom of the place is, remaining all 
night in the temple-porch asleep, related the next morning 
the dream which he had ; for he thought he saw a very 
handsome man stand before him, who said only this word, 
Black, to him, and nothing else, for he vanished away im- 
mediately. This seemed to us very impertinent, though 
we could not tell what to make of it ; but the governor 
marvelled at it, and was so nettled with it, that he had the 
oracle in great veneration ever since ; for, opening the let- 
ter, he showed this question which was therein: Shall I 
sacrifice to thee a white bull or a black ? Which dashed 
his Epicureans quite out of countenance, and he offered 
the sacrifice required, and to the day of his death contin- 
ued a devout admirer of Mopsus. 

46. When Demetrius had given us this relation, he held 
his peace. And I, being desirous to put an end to this 
conference, cast mine eyes on Philippus and Ammonius, 
who sat together ; and they, I thought, looked as if they 
had something to say to me, and therefore I kept silent. 


, With tliat ximmonius : Philippus hath something to offer, 
I Lamprias, touching what hath been debated ; for he thinks, 
I as well as other folks, that Apollo and the sun are the 
; same God. But the question which I propose is of great- 
er consequence ; for just now in our discourse we have 
taken away divination from the Gods, and openly attributed 
it to the Daemons, and now we are for excluding them : 
also, and dispossessing them of the oracle and three-footed 
stool, referring the cause, or rather the nature and essence, 
Xof divination to exhalations, winds, and vapors ; for these 
opinions carry us still farther off from the Gods, introduc- 
ing such a cause of this event as Euripides makes Poly- 
phemus to allege : 

The earth by force, whether she will or no 
Does for my cattle make the grass to grow * 

Yet he says that he sacrificed his herds, not to the Gods, 
but to himself and his own belly, " the greatest of all 
Daemons ; " whereas we offer them sacrifices and prayers 
to obtain an answer from their oracles ; but to what pur- 
pose, if it be true that souls are naturally endued with the 
faculty of prediction, and that the chief cause that excites 
this faculty and virtue is a certain temperature of air and 
winds'? And what signifies then the sacred institutions 
, and setting apart these religious prophetesses, for the giv- 
ing of answers ? And why do they return no answer at 
all, unless the sacrifice tremble all over, even from the very 
feet, whilst the wine is poured on its head? For it is not 
enough to wag the head, as other beasts do which are ap- 
pointed for sacrifices ; but this quaking and shivering must 
be universal throughout all parts of the body, and that 
with a trembling noise ; for if this be not done, they say 
that the oracle will give no answer, neither is the priestess 
even introduced. For it is very proper and suitable for 
them to do and believe thus who ascribe the impulses of 

* Eurip. Cyclops, 332. 


prophetical inspiration either to a Go,d or a Daemon, but by- 
no means for those that are of your opinion. Eor the ex- 
hahition which springeth out of the ground, whether the 
beast tremble or not, will always, if it be present, cause a 
ravishment and transport of spirit, and dispose the soul 
alike, not only of Pythia, but of any one else that first Com- 
eth or is presented. And it must needs seem absurd to : 
set apart one certain woman for the delivery of these ora- 
cles, and to oblige her to virginity and chastity all her 
days, when the thing is referred to such a cause. For as 
to that Coretas, whom the Delphians will needs have to be 
the first that happened to fall upon this chink or crevice of 
the ground, and gave the first proof of the virtue of the 
place, — he, I say, seems to me not at all to differ from 
other herdsmen or shepherds, supposing what is reported 
of him to be true, as I believe it is not. And truly, when. 
I call to mind of what benefit this oracle has been unto 
the Greeks, not only in their wars and building of cities, 
but also in the stresses of plague and famine, methinks it 
is very unfit to refer its invention and original unto mere 
chance, rather than to God and divine providence. But 
I would willingly have you, Lamprias, says he, to speak on 
this point, and I pray you, Philippus, to have patience a 
while. AVith all my heart, replied Philippus, and I dare 
undertake the same for all the company. 

47. And, as to my part, quoth I, O Philippus ! I am 
not only much moved, but also ashamed, considering my 
youth, in the presence of so many wise and grave person- 
ages, to appear as if I endeavored by sophistry to impose 
upon them, and to destroy and evacuate what sage and 
holy men have determined concerning the divine nature 
and power. But though I am young, yet Plato was old 
and wise as you are, and he shall be my example and ad- 
vocate in this case. lie reprehended Anaxngoras for api)ly- 
ing himself too much to natural causes, always following 



and pursuing the necessary and material cause of the pas- 
sions and affections incident to bodies, and omitting the 
final and efficient, which are much better and more consid- 
erable principles than the other. Bat Plato either first, or 
most of all the philosophers, hath joined both of these 
principles together, attributing to God the causality of all 
things that are according to reason, and yet not depriving 
matter of a necessary or passive concurrence ; but acknowl- 
edging that the adorning and disposing of all this sensible 
world does not depend on one single and simple cause, 
but took its being from the conjunction and fellow^ship of 
matter with reason. This may be illustrated by the works 
of art; as, for example, without going any further, the 
foot of the famous cup which is amongst the treasure of 
this temple, which Herodotus calls a Ilypocrateridion, that 
has for the material causes fire and iron, and pliableness 
by means of fire, and the tincture in water, ^vithout which 
such a piece of work could not be wrought. But the 
principal cause, and that which is most properly so called, 
which wrought by all these, was art and reason. And we 
see the name of the artist set on all such pieces, accord- 
ing to that, 

'Twas Thasian Polygnotus, Aglaoplion's son, 
That drew this draught of conquer'd Ilium. 

But yet, without colors mixed and confounded with one 
another, it had been impossible to have done a piece so 
pleasing to the eye. Should one come then and enquire 
into the material cause, searching into and discoursing 
concerning the alterations and mutations which the ver- 
milion receives mixed Avith ochre, or the ceruse with black, 
would he thereby lessen the credit of the painter Polygno- 
tus? And so he that shall discourse how iron is both 
hardened and mollified, and how, being softened in the 
fire, it becomes obedient to them who by beating it drive 
it out in length and breadth; and afterwards, being plunged 


into fresh water, by the coldness of it becomes hardened 
and condensed after it was softened and rarefied by the 
fire, and acquires a firmness and temper which Homer 
calls the strength of the iron, — does he, because of this, 
e'er the less attribute the cause of the work to the work- 
man '? I do not think he does ; for those who examine the 
virtues and properties of medicinal drugs do not thereby 
condemn the art of physic. Just as when Plato says that 
we see because the light of the eye is mixed with the 
clearness of the sun, and that we hear by the percussion 
of the air, yet this does not hinder but that we luive the 
faculty of seeing and hearing from Divine Providence. 

48. In a word, generation, as I have said, proceeding 
from two causes, the chiefest and most ancient poets and 
divines have stuck only to the first and most excellent of 
these, having on all occasions these known words in their 

Jove, the beginning, middle, source of all ; * 

but as to the necessary and natural causes, they concern 
not themselves with them. Whereas their successors, who 
were for that reason called natural philosophers, took a 
dififerent course ; for they, forsaking this admirable and 
divine principle, ascribe all matter and the passions of it 
to the motions, mutations, and mixtures of its parts. So 
that both of these are defective in their methods, because 
they omit, through ignorance or design, the one the effi- 
cient, the others the material cause. Whereas he that 
first pointed at both causes, and manifestly joined with the 
reason, wliich freely operateth and moveth, the matter, 
which necessarily is obedient and passive, does defend both 
himself and us from all calumny and censure. For we do 
not deprive divination either of God or of reason ; seeing 
we allow it for its subject the soul of man, and for its 
instrument an enthusiastic exhalation. For first, the earth, 

 From the Orphic Firagnients, VI. 10 (Hermann). 


out of which exhalations are generated, and then the sun, 
which in and upon the earth works all the infinite possibil- 
ities of mixture and alteration, are. in the divinity of our 
forefathers, esteemed Gods. And hereunto if we add the 
Daemons as superintendents and guardians of this tem- 
perature, as of a harmony and consort, who in due time 
slacken or stretch the virtue of this exhahition, sometimes 
taking from it the too great activity which it has to tor- 
ment the soul and transport it beyond itself, and mingling 
witli it a virtue of moving, without causing pain to those 
that are possessed with it ; in all this it seems to me that 
we do nothing that can look strange or impossible or un- 
agreeable to reason. 

'^ 49. And when we offer victims before we come to the 
oracle, and crown them with garlands of flowers and pour 
wine on their heads, I see we do not any tiling in all this 
that is absurd or repugnant to this opinion of ours. Eor 
the priests, who offer the sacrifices, and pour out the holy 
wine thereon, and observe their motions and tremblings, 
do this for no other reason besides that of learning whether 
they can receive an answer from the oracle. For the ani- 
mal which is offered to the Gods must be pure, entire, and 
sound, both as to soul and body. Now it is not very hard 
to discover the marks of the body ; and as to the soul, 
they make an experiment of it in setting meal before the 
bulls and presenting pease to the boars ; for if they will 
not taste them, it is a certain sign they be not sound. As 
to goats, cold water is a trial for them ; for if the beast 
does not seem to be moved and affected when the water is 
poured upon her, this is an evident sign that her soul is 
not right according to Nature. And supposing it should 
be granted that it is a certain and unquestionable sign that 
God will give an answer when the sacrifice thus drenched 
stirs, and that when it is otherwise he vouchsafes none, I 
do not sec herein any thing that disagrees with the account 


of oracles which I have given. For every natural virtue 
produceth the effect to which it is ordained better or worse, 
according as its season is more or less proper ; and it is 
likely God gives us signs Avhereby we may know whether 
the opportunity be gone or not. 

50. As for my part, I believe the exhalation itself which 
comes out of the ground is not always of the same kind, 
being at one time slack, and at another strong and vigor- 
ous ; and the truth of that experiment which I use to 
prove it is attested by several strangers, and by all those 
which serve in the temple. For the room where those do 
wait who come for answers from the oracle is sometimes 
— though not often and at certain stated times, but as it 
were by chance — filled with such a fragrant odor and 
scent, that no perfumes in the world can exceed it, and 
this arises, as it were, out of a spring, from the sanctuary 
of the temple. And this proceeds very likely from its 
heat or some other power or faculty which is in it ; and if 
peradventure this seems to any body an unlikely thing, 
such a one will, however, allow that the prophetess Pythia 
hath that part of the soul unto which this wind and blast 
of inspiration approacheth moved by variety of passions 
and affections, sometimes after one sort and sometimes an- 
other, and that she is not always in the same mood and 
temper, like a fixed and immutable harmony which the 
least alteration or change of such and such proportions 
destroys. For there are several vexations and passions, 
which agitate bodies and slide into the soul, that she per- 
ceives, but more that she does not, in which case it would 
be better that she should tarry away and not present her- 
self to this divine inspiration, as not being clean and void 
of perturbations, like an instrument of music exquisitely 
made, but at present in disorder and out of tune. For 
wine does not at all times alike surprise the drunkard, 
neither does the sound of the flute always affect in the 



same manner him who dances to it. For the same persons 
are sometimes more and sometimes less transported beyond 
themselves, and more or less inebriated, according to the 
present disposition of their bodies. But especially the 
imaginative part of the soul is subject to change and sym- 
pathize together with the body, as is apparent from dreams ; 
for sometimes we are mightily troubled with many and con- 
fused visions in our dreams, and at other times there is a 
perfect calm, undisturbed by any such images or ideas. 
We all know Cleon, a native of Daulia, who used to say 
to himself that in the many years in which he hath lived 
he never had any dream. And among the ancients, the 
same is related of Thrasymedes of Heraea. The cause 
of this lies in the complexion and constitution of bodies, 
as is seen by melancholy people, who are much subject to 
dreams in the night, and their dreams sometimes prove 
true. Inasmuch as such persons' fanqies run sometimes 
on one thing and at other times on another, they must 
thereby of necessity now and then light right, as they that 
shoot often must hit sometimes. 

51. When therefore the imaginative part of th ensoul 
and the prophetic blast or exhalation have a sort of har- 
mony and proportion with each other, so as the one, as it 
w^ere in the nature of a medicament, may operate upon the 
other, then happens that enthusiasm or divine fury which 
is discernible in prophets and inspired persons. And, on 
the contrary, when the proportion is lost, tliere can be no 
prophetical inspiration, or only such as is as good as none; 
for then it is a forced fury, not a natural one, but violent 
and turbulent, such as we have seen to have happened in 
the prophetess Pythia who is lately deceased. For certain 
pilgrims being come for an answer from the oracle, it is 
said the sacrifice endured the first effusion without stirring 
or moving a jot, which made the priests, out of an excess 
of zeal, to continue to pour on more, till the beast was 


almost drowned with cold water ; but what happened here- 
upon to the prophetess Pythia? She went down into the 
hole against her will ; but at the first words which she ut- 
tered, she plainly showed by the hoarseness of her voice 
that she was not able to bear up against so strong an inspira- 
tion (like a ship under sail, oppressed with too much wind), 
but was possessed with a dumb and evil spirit. Finally, 
being horribly disordered and running with dreadful 
screeches towards the door to get out, she threw herself 
violently on the ground, so that not only the pilgrims fled 
for fear, but also the high priest Nicander and the other 
priests and religious which were there present ; who en- 
tering within a while took her up, being out of her senses ; 
and indeed she lived but few days after. For these reasons 
it is that Pythia is obliged to keep her body pure and clean 
from the company of men, there being no stranger per- 
mitted to converse with her. And before she goes to the 
oracle, they are used by certain marks to examine whether 
she be fit or no, believing that the God certainly knows 
when her body is disposed and fit to receive, without en- 
dangering her person, this enthusiastical inspiration. For 
the force and virtue of this exhalation does not move 
all sorts of persons, nor the same persons in like manner, 
nor as much at one time as at another ; but it only gives 
beginning, and, as it were, kindles those spirits which are 
prepared and fitted to receive its influence. Now this 
exhalation is certainly divine and celestial, but yet not 
incorruptible and immortal, nor proof against the eternity 
of time, which subdues all things below the moon, as 
our doctrine teaches, — and, as some say, all things 
above it, which, weary and in despair as regards eter- 
nity and infinity, are apt to be suddenly renewed and 

52. But these things, said I, I must advise you and 
myself often and seriously to consider of, they being liable 



to many disputes and objections, which our leisure will! 
not suffer to particularize ; and therefore we must remit] 
them, together with the questions which Philippus pro- 
poses touching Apollo and the sun, to another oppor- 



1. It becomes wise men, dame Clea,* to go to the Gods 
for all the good things they would enjoy. Much more 
ought we, when we would aim at that knowledge of them 
which our nature can arrive at, to pray that they them- 
selves would bestow it upon us ; truth being the greatest 
good that man can receive, and the goodliest blessing that 
God can give. Other good things he bestows on men as 
they want them, they being not his own peculiars nor of 
any use to himself. For the blessedness of the Deity con- 
sists not in silver and gold, nor yet his power in lightnings 
and thunders, but in knowledge and wisdom. And it was 
the best thing Homer ever said of Gods, when he pro- 
nounced thus : 

Both of one line, both of one country boast. 
But royal Jove's the eldest and knows most ; f 

where he declares Jupiter's prerogative in wisdom and 
science to be the more honorable, by terming it the elder. 
I, for my own part, do believe that the felicity of eternal 
living which the Gods enjoy lies mainly in this, that nothing 
escapes their cognizance that passes in the sphere of gen- 
ration, and that, should we set aside wisdom and the 
knowledge of true beings, ij: immortality itself would not 
be life, but merely a long time. 

* This Clea was priestess to Isis and to Apollo Delphicus. 

t II. XIII. 864. 

t That is, tH bvra in the Platonic sense, as opposed to rb. ytyvofieva. (Q.) 

VOL. IV. 5 



2. And therefore the desire of truth, especially in what 
relates to the Gods, is a sort of grasping after divinity, it 
using learning and enquiry for a kind of resumption of 
things sacred, a work doubtless of more religion than any 
ritual purgation or charge of temples whatever, and espe- 
cially most acceptable to the Goddess you serve, since she 
is more eminently wise and speculative, and since knowl- 
edge and science (as her very name * seems to import) 
appertain more peculiarly to her than any other thing. 
For the name of Isis is Greek, and so is that of her ad- 
versary Typhon, who, being puffed up f through ignorance 
and mistake, pulls in pieces and destroys that holy doc- 
trine, which she on the contrary collects, compiles, and 
delivers down to such as are regularly advanced unto the 
deified state ; which, by constancy of sober diet, and ab- 
staining from sundry meats and the use of women, both 
restrains the intemperate and voluptuous part, and habit- 
uates them to austere and hard services in the temples, the 
end of which is the knowledge of the original, supreme, 
and mental being, which the Goddess would have them 
enquire for, as near to herself and as dwelling with her. 
Besides, the very name of her temple most apparently 
promises the knowledge and acquaintance of true being 
(rb 6v), for they call it Iseion {"fasiov), as who should say, We 
shall know true being, if with reason and sanctimony we 
approach the sacred temples of this Goddess. 

3. Moreover, many have reported her the daughter of 
Hermes, and many of Prometheus ; the latter of which 
they esteem as the author of wit and forecast, and the 
former of letters and music. For the same reason also 
they call the former of the Muses at Hermopolis at the 
same time Isis and Justice, Isis being (as we before said) 

* Plutarch derives Isis, in the usual uncritical way of ancient etymology, from 
the Greek root la — , found in Igte from olda. (G.) 
\ Tlmt is, T£Tv<poj(iivog. (G.) 


no other than wisdom, and revealing things divine to such j 
as are truly and justly styled the sacred bearers, and keep- ( 
ers of the sacred robes ; and these are such as have in 
their minds, as in an ark, the sacred doctrine about the 
Gods, cleansed from superstitious frights and vain curios- 
ities, keeping out of sight all dark and shady colors, and 
exposing to sight the light and gay ones, to insinuate 
something of the like kind in our persuasion about the 
Gods as we have represented to us in the sacred vestments. ^ 
Wherefore, in that the priests of Isis are dressed up in 
these when they are dead, it is a token to us that this doc- 
trine goes with them to the other life, and that nothing 
else can accompany them thither. For as neither the 
nourishing of beards nor the wearing of mantles can ren- 
der men philosophers, so neither will linen garments or 
shaved heads make priests to Isis ; but he is a true priest 
of Isis, who, after he hath received from the laws the rep- 
resentations and actions that refer to the Gods, doth next 
apply his reason to the enquiry and speculation of the 
truth contained in them. 

4. For the greater part of men are ignorant even of this 
most common and ordinary thing, for what reason priests 
lay aside their hair and go in linen garments. Some are 
not at all solicitous to be informed about such questions ; 
and^ others say their veneration for sheep is the cause why 
they abstain from their wool as well as their flesh, and that 
they shave their heads in token of mourning, and that 
they wear linen because of the bloomy color which the 
flax sendeth forth, in imitation of that ethereal clarity that 
environs the world. But indeed the true reason of them 
all is one and the same. For it is not lawful (as Plato 
saith) for a clean thing to be touched by an unclean ; but 
now no superfluity of food or excrementitious substance 
can be pure or clean ; but wool, down, hair, and nails 
come up and grow from superfluous excrements. It would 


be therefore an absurdity for them to lay aside their own 
hair in purgations, by shaving themselves and by making 
their bodies all over smooth, and yet in the mean time to 
wear and carry about them the hairs of brutes. For we 
ought to think that the poet Ilesiod, when he saith, 

Not at a feast of Gods from five-branched tree 
With sharp-edged steel to part tlie green from dry * 

keep the feast when we are already! 
hings as these, and not in the solemni-  

would teach us to 
cleansed from such things 

ties themselves to use purgation or removal of excrementi- 
tious superfluities. But now flax^ springs up from an- 
immortal being, the earth, and bears an eatable fruit, and 
affords a simple and cleanly clothing, not burdensome to 
him that is covered with it, and convenient for every season 
of the year, and which besides (as they tell us) is the least 
subject to engender vermin ; but of this to discourse in 
this place would not be pertinent. 

5. But now the priests do so abhor all kinds of super- 
fluous excrements, that they not only decHne most sorts of 
pulse, and of flesh that of sheep and swine, which pro- 
duce much superfluity, but also in the time of their purga- 
tions they exclude salt from their meals. For which, as 
they have several other good reasons, so more especially 
this, that it whets the appetite and renders men over-eager 
after meat and drink. For that the reason why sait is M 
not accounted clean should be (as Aristagoras tells us) be- 
cause that, when it is hardened together, many little animals 
are catched in it and there die, is fond and ridiculous. 
They are also said to water the Apis from a well of his 
own, and to restrain him altogether from the river Nile, — 
not because they hold the water for polluted by reason of 
the crocodile, as some suppose, for there is nothing in the 
world in more esteem with the Egyptians than the Nile, 

* lies. Works and Days, 740. That is, Do not cut your nails at a banquet of the Gods, 
The briefer precept of Pythagoras was, llaou dvaiav htj ovvxKov. (G.) 


but because the water of the Nile being drunk is observed 
to be very feeding, and above all others to conduce to the 
increase of flesh. But they would not have the Apis nor 
themselves neither to be over fat ; but that their bodies 
should sit light and easy about their souls, and not press 
and squeeze them down by a mortal part overpowering and 
weighing down the divine. 

6. They also that at Heliopolis [Sun-town) wait upon 
the sun never bring wine into his temple, they looking 
upon it as a thing indecent and unfitting to drink by day- 
light, while their lord and king looks on. The rest of 
them do indeed use it, but very sparingly. They have 
likewise many purgations, wherein they prohibit the use 
of wine, in which they study philosophy, and pass their 
time in learning and teaching things divine. Moreover 
their kings, being priests also themselves, were wont to 
drink it by a certain measure prescribed them in the sacred 
books, as Hecataeus informs us. And they began first to 
drink it in the reign of Psammetichus ; but before that 
time they were not used to drink Avine at all, no, nor to 
pour it forth in sacrifice as a thing they thought any way 
grateful to the Gods, but as the blood of those who in 
ancient times waged war against the Gods, from whom, fall- 
ing down from heaven and mixing with the earth, they 
conceived vines to have first sprung ; which is the reason 
(say they) that drunkenness renders men besides them- 
selves and mad ; they being, as it were, gorged with the 
blood of their ancestors. These things (as Eudoxus tells 
us in the second book of his Travels) are thus related by 
the priests. 

7. As to sea-fish, they do not all of them abstain from 
all, but some from one sort, and some from another. As 
for example, the Oxyrynchites abstain from such as are 
catchcd with the angle and hook ; for, having the fish 
called oxyrynchus (the pike) in great veneration, they are 

70 OF ISIS AND osmis. 

afraid lest the hook should chance to catch hold of it 
and by that means become polluted. They of Syene also 
abstain from the phagrus (or sea-bream) because it is 
observed to appear with the approaching overflow of the 
Nile, and to present itself a voluntary messenger of the 
joyful news of its increase. But the priests abstain from 
all in general. But on the ninth day of the first month, 
when every oth^^r Egyptian eats a fried fish before the 
outer door of his house, the priests do not eat any fish, 
but only burn them before their doors. For which they 
have two reasons ; the one whereof, being sacred and very 
curious, I shall resume by and by (it agreeing with the 
pious reasonings we shall make upon Osiris and Typhon) ; 
the other is a very manifest and obvious one, which, by 
declaring fish to be not a necessary but a superfluous 
and curious sort of food, greatly confirms Homer, who 
never makes either the dainty Phaeacians or the Ithacans 
(though both islanders) to make use of fish ; no, nor the 
companions of Ulysses either in so long a voyage at sea, 
until they came to the last extremity of want. In short, 
they reckon the sea itself to be made of fire and to lie out 
of Nature's confines, and not to be a part of the world or 
an element, but a preternatural, corrupt, and. morbid ex- 

8. For nothing hath been ranked among their sacred 
and religious rites that savored of folly, romance, or su- 
perstition, as some do suppose ; but some of them were 
such as contained some signification of morality and utility, 
and others such as were not without a fineness either in 
history or natural philosophy. As, for instance, in what 
refers to the onions ; for that Dictys, the foster-father of 
Isis, as he was reaching at a handful of onions, fell into 
the river and was there drowned, is extremely improbable. 
But the true reason why the priests abhor, detest, and 
avoid the onion is because it is the only plant whose na- 


ture it is to grow and spread forth in the wane of the 
moon. Besides, it is no proper food, either for such as 
would practise abstinence and use purgations, or for such 
as would observe the festivals ; for the former, because it 
causeth thirst, and for the latter, because it forceth tears 
from those that eat it. They likewise esteem the swine as | 
an unhallowed animal, because it is observed to be most 
apt to engender in the wane of the moon, and because 
that such as drink its milk have a leprosy and scabbed 
roughness in their bodies. But the story which they that 
sacrifice a swine at every full moon are wont to subjoin 
after their eating of it, — how that Typlion, being once 
about the full of the moon in pursuit of a certain swine, 
found by chance the wooden chest wherein lay the body 
of Osiris, and scattered it, — is not received by all, but 
looked upon as a misrepresented story, as a great many 
more such are. They tell us moreover, that the ancients 
did so much despise delicacy, sumptuousness, and a soft 
and effeminate way of living, that they erected a pillar in 
the temple at Thebes, having engraven upon it several 
grievous curses against King Meinis, who (as they tell us) 
was the first that brought off the Egyptians from a mean, 
wealthless, and simple way of living. There goes also 
another story, how that Technatis, father to Bocchoris, 
commanding an army against the Arabians, and his bag- 
gage and provisions not coming in as soon as was expected, 
heartily fed upon such things as he could next light on, 
and afterwards had a sound sleep upon a pallet, where- 
upon he fell greatly in love with a poor and mean life ; 
and for this reason he cursed Meinis, and that with the 
consent of all the priests, and carved that curse upon a 

9. But their kings (you must know) were always chosen 
either out of the priesthood or soldiery, the latter having 
the right of succession by reason of their military valor, 



and the former by reason of their wisdom. But he that 
was chosen out of the soldiery was obhged immediately to 
turn priest, and was thereupon admitted to the participa- 
tion of their philosophy, whose genius it was to conceal 
the greater part in tales and romantic relations, containing 
dark hints and resemblances of truth ; which it is plain 
that even themselves would insinuate to us, while they are 
so kind as to set up Sphinxes before their temples, to in- 
timate that their theology contained in it an enigmatical 
sort of learning. Moreover, the temple of Minerva which 
is at Sais (whom they look upon as the same with Isis) 
had upon it this inscription : I am whatever was, or is, or 
will be ; and my veil no mortal ever took up. Besides, 
we find the greater part to be of opinion that the proper 
name of Jupiter in the Egyptian tongue is Amun (from 
which we have derived our word Ammon). But now 
Manetho the Sebennite thinks this word signifies hidden 
and hiding ; but Hecataeus of Abdera saith, the Egyptians 
use this word when they call anybody ; for that it is 
a term of calling. Therefore they must be of the opinion 
that the first God is the same with the universe ; and 
therefore, while they invoke him who is unmanifest and 
hidden, and pray him to make himself manifest and known 
to them, they cry Amun. So great therefore was the piety M 
of the Egyptians' philosophy about things divine. ^ 

10. This is also confirmed by the most learned of the 
Greeks (such as Solon, Thales, Plato, Eudoxus, Pythago- 
ras, and as some say, even Lycurgus) going to Egypt and 
conversing with the priests ; of whom they say Eudoxus 
was a hearer of Chonuphis of Memphis, Solon of Son- 
chis of Sais, and Pythagoras of Oenuphis of HeUopolis. 
Whereof the last named, being (as is probable) more than 
ordinarily admired by the men, and they also by him, 
imitated their symbolical and mysterious way of talking, 
obscuring his sentiments with darkjiddlfis. Eor the great- 


est part of the Pythagoric precepts fall nothing short of 
those sacred writings they call hierp^ly^ical, such as, Do 
not eat in a chariot ; Do not sit on a choenix (or measure) ; 
Plant not a palm-tree ; Stir not fire with a knife within the 
house. And I verily believe, that their terming the unit 
Apollo, the number two Diana, the number seven Minerva, 
and the first cube Neptune, refers to the columns set up in 
their temples, and to things there acted, aye, and painted 
too. For they represent their king and lord Osiris by an 
eye and a sceptre. There are some also that interpret his 
name by many-eyed, as if os in the Egyptian tongue sig- 
nified many, and iin an eye. And the heaven, because by 
reason of its eternity it never grows old, they represent by 
a heart with a censer under it. There were also statues 
of judges erected at Thebes, having no hands; and the 
chief of them had also his eyes closed ^up, hereby signifying 
that among them justice was not to be solicited with either 
bribery or address. Moreover, the men of the sword had 
a beetle carved upon their signets, because there is no 
such thing as a female beetle ; for they are all males, and 
they generate their young in certain round pellets formed 
of dirt, being herein as well providers of the place in 
which they are to be engendered, as of the matter of their 

11. When therefore you hear the tales which the 
Egyptians relate about the Gods, such as their wanderings, 
discerptions, and such like disasters that befell them, you 
are still to remember that none of these things have been 
really so acted and done as they are told. For they do not 
call the dog Hermes properly, but only attribute the ward- 
ing, vigilancy, and philosophic acuteness of that animal, 
which by knowing or not knowing distinguishes between 
its friend and its foe (as Plato speaks), to the most knowing 
and ingenious of the Gods. Nor do they believe that the 
sun springs up a little boy from the top of the lotus, but 


they thus set forth his rising to insinuate the kindling of 
his rays by means of humids. Besides, that most savage 
and horrible king of the Persians named Ochus, who, 
when he had massacred abundance of people, afterwards 
slaughtered the Apis, and feasted upon him, both himself 
and his retinue, they called the Sword ; and they call him 
so to this very day in their table of kings, hereby not 
denoting properly his person, but resembling by this instru- 
ment of murder the severity and mischievousness of his 
disposition. When therefore you thus hear the stories of 
the Gods from such as interpret them with consistency to 
piety and philosophy, and observe and practise those rites 
that are by law established, and are persuaded in youri 
mind that you cannot possibly either offer or perform a I 
more agreeable thing to the Gods than the entertaining of 
a right notion of them, you will then avoid superstition as a 
no less evil than atlieism itself 

12. The story is thus told after the most concise manner, 
the most useless and unnecessary parts being cut off. They 
tell us how that once on a time, Rhea having accompanied 
with Saturn by stealth, the Sun found them out, and pro- 
nounced a solemn curse against her, containing that she 
should not be delivered in any month or year ; but that 
Ilermes, afterwards making his court to the goddess, ob- 
tained her favor, in requital of which he went and played 
at dice with the Moon, and won of her the seventieth part 
from each day, and out of all these made five new days, 
which he added to the three hundred and sixty other days 
of the year ; and these the Egyptians therefore to this day 
call the Epagomenae (or the superadded days), and they 
observe them as the birthdays of their Gods. Upon the 
first of these, as they say, Osiris was born, and a voice 
came into the world with him, saying, The Lord of all 
things is now born. There are others that affirm that one 
Pamyles, as he was fetching water at Thebes, heard a voice 


out of the temple of Jupiter, bidding him to publish with 
a loud voice that Osiris, the great and good king, was now 
born ; and that he thereupon got to be foster-father to 
Osiris, Saturn entrusting him with the charge of him, and 
that the feast called Pamylia (resembling the Priapeian 
procession which the Greeks call Phallephoria) was insti- 
tuted in honor of him. Upon the second day Arueris was 
born, whom some call Apollo, and others the elder Horus. 
Upon the third Typhon was born, who came not into the 
world either in due time or by the right way, but broke a 
hole in his mother's side, and leaped out at the wound. 
Upon the fourth Tsis was born in Panygra. And upon the 
fifth Nephthys, whom they sometimes call the end, and 
sometimes Venus, and sometimes also Victory. Of these 
they say Osirij and Arueris were begot by the Sun, Isis 
by Hermes, and Typhon and Nephthys by Saturn. For 
which reason their kings, looking upon the third of the 
Epagomenae as an inauspicious day, did no business upon 
it, nor took any care of their bodies until the evening. 
They say also that Nephthys was married unto Typhon, 
and that Isis and Osiris were in love with one another be- 
fore they were born, and enjoyed each other in the dark 
before they came into the world. Some add also that 
Arueris was thus begotten, and that he was called by the 
Egyptians the elder Horus, and by the Greeks Apollo. 

13. And they say that Osiris, when he was king of 
Egypt, drew them off from a beggarly and bestial way of 
living, by showing them the use of grain, and by making 
them laws, and teaching them to honor the Gods ; and that 
afterwards he travelled all the world over, and made it 
civil, having but little need of arms, for he drew the most 
to him, alluring them by persuasion and oratory, intermixed 
with all sorts of poetry and mUsic ; whence it is that the 
Greeks look upon him as the very same with Bacchus. 
They further add that Typhon, while he was from home, 



attempted nothing against him ; for Tsis was very watchful, 
and guarded him closely from harm. But when he came 
home, he formed a plot against him, taking seventy-two 
men for accomplices of his conspiracy, and being also 
abetted by a certain Queen of Ethiopia, whose name they 
say was Aso. Having therefore privately taken the mea- 
sure of Osiris's body, and framed a curious ark, very finely 
beautified and just of the size of his body, he brought it 
to a certain banquet. And as all were wonderfully delight- 
ed with so rare a sight and admired it greatly, Typhon in 
a sporting manner promised that whichsoever of the com- 
pany should by lying in it find it to be of the size of his 
body, should have it for a present. And as every one of 
them was forward to try, and none fitted it, Osiris at last got 
into it himself, and lay along in it ; whereupon they that 
were there present immediately ran to it, and clapped down 
the cover upon it, and when they had fastened it down 
with nails, and soldered it with melted lead, they carried it 
forth to the river side, and let it swim into the sea at the 
Tanaitic mouth, which the Egyptians therefore to this day 
detest, and abominate the very naming of it. These things 
happened (as they say) upon the seventeenth of the month 
Athyr, when the sun enters into the Scorpion, and that 
was upon the eight and twentieth year of the reign of 
Osiris. But there are some that say that was the time of 
his life, and not of his reign. . 

14. And because the Pans and Satyrs that inhabited the 
region about Chemmis were the first that knew of this 
disaster and raised the report of it among the people, all 
sudden frights and discomposures among the people have 
been ever since called panics. But when Isis heard of it, 
she cut off in that very place a lock of her hair, and put 
on a mourning weed, where there is a town at this day 
named Kopto ; others think that name signifies bereaving, 
for that some use the word for depriving. And as she 



wandered up and down in all places, being deeply per- 
plexed in her thoughts, and left no one she met withal 
unspoken to, she met at last with certain little children, of 
whom also she enquired about the ark. Now these had 
chanced to see all that had passed, and they named to her 
the very mouth of the Nile by which Typhon's accomplices 
had sent the vessel into the sea; for which reason the 
Egyptians account little children to have a faculty of divin- 
ation, and use more especially to lay hold on their omens 
when they play in sacred places or chance to say any thing 
there, whatever it be. And finding afterwards that Osiris 
had made his court to her sister, and through mistake en- 
joyed her instead of herself, for token of which she had 
found the melilot garland which he had left hard by 
Nephthys, she went to seek for the child ; for her sister 
had immediately exposed it as soon as she was delivered 
of it, for fear of her husband Typhon. And when with 
great difficulty and labor she Imd found it, by means of 
certain dogs which conducted her to it, she brought it up ; 
and he afterwards became her guardsman and follower, 
being named Anubis, and reported to guard the Gods as 
dogs do men. 

15. Of him she had tidings of the ark, how it had been 
thrown out by the sea upon the coasts of Byblos, and the 
flood had gently entangled it in a certain thicket of heath. 
And this heath had in a very small time run up into a 
most beauteous and large tree, and had wrought itself ' 
about it, clung to it, and quite enclosed it within its trunk. 
Upon which the king of that place, much admiring at the 
unusual bigness of the plant, and cropping off the bushy 
part that encompassed the now invisible chest, made of it 
a post to support the roof of his house. These things (as 
they tell us) Isis being informed of by the divine breath of 
rumor, went herself to Byblos ; where when she was come, 
she sate her down hard by a well, very pensive and full of 


tears, insomuch that she refused to speak to any person, 
save only to the queen s women, whom she complimented 
and caressed at an extraordinary rate, and would often 
stroke back their hair with her hands, and withal transmit 
a most wonderful fragrant smell out of her body into theirs. 
The queen, perceiving that her women's bodies and hair 
thus breathed of ambrosia, greatly longed to become ac- 
quainted with this new stranger. Upon this she being 
sent for, and becoming very intimate with the queen, was 
at last made nurse to her child. Now the name of this 
king (they tell us) was Malcander ; and the queen, some 
say, was called Astarte, and some Saosis, and others Ne- 
manun (which in Greek is as much as to say Athenai's). 

1(3. Isis nursed the child by putting her finger into his 
mouth instead of the breast ; and in the night-time she 
would by a kind of lambent fire singe away what was 
mortal about him. In the mean while, herself would be 
turned to a swallow, and in that form would fly round 
about the post, bemoaning her misfortune and sad fate ; 
until at last, the queen, who stood watching hard by, 
cried out aloud as she saw her child all on a light flame, 
and so robbed him of immortality. Upon which the God- 
dess discovered herself, and begged the post that held up 
the roof; which when she had obtained and taken down, 
she very quickly cropped off the bushy heath from about it 
and wrapping the trunk in fine linen and pouring perfumed 
oil upon it, she put it into the hands of their kings ; and 
therefore the Byblians to this very day worship that piece 
of wood, laying it up in the temple of Isis. Then she 
threw herself down upon the chest, and her lamentations 
>vere so loud, that the younger of the king's two sons died 
for very fear ; but she, having the elder in her own pos- 
session, took both him and the ark, and carried them on 
shipboard, and so took sail. But the river Phaedrus 
sending forth a very keen and chill air, it being the dawn- 



ing of the morn, she grew incensed at it, and dried up its 

17. And in the first place where she could take rest, 
and found hei'self to be now at liberty and alone, she 
opened the ark, and laid her cheeks upon the cheeks of 
Osiris, and embraced him and wept bitterly. The little 
boy seeing her came silently behind her, and peeping saw 
what it was ; which she perceiving cast a terrible look 
upon him in the height of her passion ; the fright whereof 
the child could not endure, and immediately died. But 
there are some that say it was not so, but that in the fore- 
mentioned manner he dropped into tlie sea, and was there 
drowned. And he hath divine honors given him to this 
very day upon the Goddess's account ; for they assure us 
that Maneros, whom the Egyptians so often mention in 
their carols at their banquets, is the very same. But others 
say that the boy was named Palaestinus or Pelusius, and 
that the city of that name was so called from him, it 
having been built by the Goddess. They also relate that 
this Maneros, so often spoken of in their songs, was the 
first that invented music. But some there are that would 
make us believe that Maneros was not the name of any 
person, but a certain form of speech, made use of to 
people in drinking and entertaining themselves at feasts, 
by way of wishing that all things might prove auspicious 
and agreeable to them ; for that is the thing which the 
Egyptians would express by the word Maneros, when they 
so often roar it forth. In like manner they affirm that the 
likeness of a dead man, which is carried about in a little 
box and shown at feasts, is not to commemorate the disas- 
ter of Osiris, as some suppose, but was designed to en-^ 
courage men to make use of and to enjoy the present 
things whilst they have them, since all men must quickly 
become such as they there see ; for which reason they 
bring it into their revels and feasts. 


18. But when Isis came to her son Horus, who was then 
at nurse at Buto, and had laid the chest out of the way, 

' Typhon, as he was hunting by moonshine, by chance 
lighted upon it, and knowing the body again, tore it into 
fourteen parts, and threw them all about. Which when 
Isis had heard, she went to look for them again in a cer- 
tain barge made of papyrus, in which she sailed over all 
I the fens. Whence (they tell us) it comes to pass, that 
I such as go in boats made of this rush are never injured by 
the crocodiles, they having either a fear or else a venera- 
tion for it upon the account of the goddess Isis. And this 
(they say) hath occasioned the report that there are many 
sepulchres of Osiris in Egypt, because she made a partic- 
ular funeral for each member as she found them. There 
are others that tell us it was not so, but that she made sev- 
eral effigies of him and sent them to every city, taking on 
her as if she had sent them his body ; so that the greater 
number of people might pay divine honors to him, and 
withal, if it should chance that Typhon should get the bet- 
ter of Horus, and thereupon search for the body of Osiris, 
many bodies being discoursed of and shown him, he might 
. despair of ever finding the right one. But of all Osiris's 
members, Isis could never find out his private part, for it 
had been presently flung into the river Nile, and the lepi- 
dotus, sea-bream, and pike eating of it, these were for that 
reason more scrupulously avoided by the Egyptians than 
j any other fish. But Isis, in lieu of it, made its effigies, 
j and so consecrated the phallus for which the Egyptians to 
' this day observe a festival. 

19. After this, Osiris coming out of hell to assist his 
son Horus, first labored and trained him up in the disci- 
pline of war, and then questioned him what he thought to 
be the gallantest thing a man could do ; to which he soon 
replied, to avenge one's father's and mother's quarrel when 
they suffer injury. He asked him a second time, what ani- 


mal lie esteemed most useful to such as would go to battle. 
Horus told him, a horse ; to which he said that he won- 
dered much at his answer, and could not imagine why he 
did not rather name a lion than a horse. Horus replied, 
that a lion might indeed be very serviceable to one that 
needed help, but a horse would serve best to cut off and 
disperse a flying enemy. Which when Osiris heard, he 
was very much pleased with him, looking upon him now 
as sufficiently instructed for a soldier. It is reported like- 
wise that, as a great many went over daily unto Horus, 
Typhon's own concubine Thueris deserted also ; but that 
a certain serpent, pursuing her close at the heels, was cut 
in pieces by Horus's men, and that for that reason they 
still fling a certain cord into the midst of the room and 
then chop it to pieces. The battle therefore continued for 
several days, and Horus at last prevailed ; but Isis, although 
she had Typhon delivered up to her fast bound, yet would 
not put him to death, but contrariwise loosed him and let 
him go. Which when Horus perceived, he could not 
brook it with any patience, but laid violent hands upon his 
mother, and plucked the royal diadem from off her head. 
But Hermes presently stepped in, and clapped a cow's 
head upon her instead of a helmet. Likewise, when Ty- 
phon impeached Horus for being a bastard, Hermes be- 
came his advocate, and Horus was judged legitimate by 
all the Gods. After this, they say that Typhon was worst- 
ed in two several battles. Isis had also by Osiris, who 
accompanied with her after his decease, Harpocrates, who 
came into the world before his time and was lame in his 
lower parts. 

20. These then are most of the heads of this fabular 
narration, the more harsh and coarse parts (such as the 
description of Horus and the beheading of Isis) being 
taken out. If therefore they say and believe such things 
as these of the blessed and incorruptible nature (which is 

VOL. IV. 6 



the best conception we can have of divinity) as really thus 
done and happening to it, I need not tell you that you 
ought to spit and to make clean your mouth (as Aeschylus 
speaks) at the mentioning of them. For you are suffi- 
ciently averse of yourself to such as entertain such wicked 
and barbarous sentiments concerning the Gods. And yet 
that these relations are nothing akin to those foppish tales 
and vain fictions which poets and story-tellers are wont, 
like spiders, to spin out of their own bowels, without any- 
substantial ground or foundation for them, and then weave 
and wire-draw them out at their own pleasures, but con- 
tain in them certain abstruse questions and rehearsals of 
events, you yourself are, I suppose, convinced. And as 
mathematicians do assert the rainbow to be an appearance 
of the sun so variegated by reflection of its rays in a cloud, 
so likewise the fable here related is the appearance of some 
doctrine whose meaning is transferred by reflection to . 
some other matter ; as is plainly suggested to us as well bya 
the sacrifices themselves, in which there appears something 
lamentable and very sad, as by the forms and makes of 
their temples, which sometimes run out themselves into 
wings, and into open and airy circs, and at other times 
again have under ground certain private cells, resembling 
vaults and tombs. And this is most plainly hinted to us 
by the opinion received about those of Osiris, because his 
body is said to be interred in so many diflerent places. 
Though it may be they will tell you that some one town, 
such as Abydos or Memphis, is named for the place where 
his true body lies ; and that the most powerful and weal- 
thy among the Egyptians are most ambitious to be buried 
at Abydos, that so they may be near the body of their God 
Osiris ; and that the Apis is fed at Memphis, because he 
is the image of Osiris's soul, where also they will have it 
that his body is interred. Some also interpret the name 
of this city to signify the haven of good things, and others, 



the tomb of Osiris. They add, that the little island at 
Philae is at other times inaccessible and not to be ap- 
proached to by any man, and that the very birds dare not 
venture to fly over it nor the fish to touch upon its banks ; 
yet upon a certain set time the priests go over into it, and 
there perform the accustomed rites for the dead, and crown 
his tomb, which stands there shaded over by a tree called 
methida, exceeding any olive in bigness. 

21. But Eudoxus saith that, though there be in Egypt 
many tombs reported to be his, yet his true body lies at 
Busiris, for that was the place of his birth ; neither can 
there be any room for dispute about Taphlosiris, for that its 
very name bespeaks it, Osiris's tomb. I pass by their 
cleaving of wood, their peeling of flax, and the wine liba- 
tions then made by them, because many of their secret 
mysteries are therein contained. And it is not of this 
God only, but of all others also that are not ungotten and 
incorruptible, that the priests pretend that their bodies lie 
buried with them and are by them served, but their souls 
are stars shining in heaven ; and they say that the soul of 
Isis is by the Greeks called the Dog, but by the Egyptians, 
Sothis; and that of Horus, Orion; and that of Typhon, the 
Bear. They also tell us, that towards the support of the 
animals honored by them all others pay the proportion as- 
signed them by the laws, but that those that inhabit the 
country of Thebais are the only men that refuse to contri- 
bute any thing, because they believe in no mortal God, but 
in him only whom they call Cneph, who is ungotten and 

22. They therefore who suppose that, because many 
things of this sort are both related and shown unto travel- 
lers, they are but so many commemorations of the actions 
and disasters of mighty kings and tyrants who, by reason 
of their eminent valor or puissance, wrote the title of di- 
vinity upon their fame, and afterwards fell into great 


calamities and misfortunes, — these, I say, make use of the 
most ready way of eluding the story, and plausibly enough 
remove things of harsh and uncouth sound from Gods to 
men. Nay, I will add this farther, that the arguments they 
use are fairly enough deduced from the things themselves 
related. For the Egyptians recount, that Mercury was, in 
^ regard to the make of his body, with one arm longer than 
the other, and that Typhon was by complexion red, Horus 
white, and Osiris black, as if they had been indeed nothing 
else but men. They moreover style Osiris a commander, 
and Canopus a pilot, from whom they say the star of that 
name was denominated. Also the ship which the Greeks 
call Argo — being the image of Osiris's ark, and therefore, 
in honor of it, made a constellation — they make to rid 
not far from Orion and the Dog ; whereof the one the 
believe to be sacred to Horus, and the other to Isis. 
/ 23. But I fear this would be to stir things that are no 
to be stirred, and to declare war not only (as Simonides 
speaks) against length of time, but also against many naH 
tions and families of mankind, whom a religious reverence 
towards these Gods holds fast bound like men astonished 
and amazed. And this would be no other than ffoinsr about 
to remove so great and venerable names from heaven tofll 
earth, thereby shaking and dissolving that worship and 
persuasion that hath entered into almost all men's consti- 
tutions from their very birth, and opening vast doors to the 
Atheists' faction, who convert all divine matters into human, 
i giving also a large license to the impostures of Euhemer us 
. the Messenian, who out of his own brain contrived certain 
memoirs of a most incredible and imaginary mythology, 
and thereby spread all manner of Atheism throughout the 
world. This he did by describing all the received Gods 
I under the style of generals, sea-captains, and kings, whom 
i he makes to have lived in the more remote and ancient 
times, and to be recorded in golden characters in a certain 


v'ountry called Panchon, with which notwithstanding never 
any man, either Barbarian or Grecian, had the good for- 
tune to meet, except Euhemerus alone, who (it seems) 
sailed to the land of the Panchoans and Triphyllians, that 
neither have nor ever had a being. 

24. And although the actions of Semiramis are sung 
among the Assyrians as very great, and likewise those of 
Sesostris in Egypt, and the Phrygians to this very day style 
all illustrious and strange actions manic, because Manis, 
one of their ancient kings (whom some call Masdes) was a 
brave and mighty person ; and although Cyrus enlarged the 
empire of the Persians, and Alexander that of the Macedoni- 
ans, within a little matter of the world's end; yet have they 
still retained the names and memorials of gallant princes. 
And if some, puffed up with excessive vain-glory (as Plato 
speaks), having their minds enflamed at once with both 
youthful blood and folly, have with an unruly extravagancy 
taken upon them the style of Gods and had temples erected 
in their honor,- yet this opinion of them flourished but for 
a short season, and they afterwards underwent the blame 
of great vanity and arrogancy, conjoined Avith the highest 
impiety and wickedness ; and so, 

Like smoke they flew away with swift-paced Fate ; * 

and being dragged away from the altars like fugitive slaves, 
they have now nothing left them but their tombs and graves. 
Which made Antigonus the Elder, when one Hermodotus 
had in his poems declared him to be son to the Sun and a 
God, to say to him : Friend, he that empties my close-stcol- 
pan knoAVS no such matter of me. And Lysippus the 
carver had good reason to quarrel with the painter Apelles 
for drawing Alexander's picture with a thunder-bolt in 
his hand, whereas himself had made him but with a 
spear, which (he said) was natural and proper for him, 

* From Empedocles. 

86 OF ISIS AND osmi^. 

and a weapon the glory of which no time would rob 
him of. 

25. Therefore they maintain the wiser opinion, who hold 
that the things here storied of Typhon, Osiris, and Isia 
were not the events of Gods, nor yet of men, but of cer- 
tain grand Daemons, whom Plato, Pythagoras, Xenocrates, 
and Chrysippus (following herein the opinion of the most 
ancient theologists) affirm to be of greater strength than 
men, and to transcend our nature by much in power, but 
not to have a divine part pure and unmixed, but such as 
participates of both the soul's nature and the body's sensa- 
tion, capable of receiving both pleasure and pain, and all 
the passions that attend these mutations, which disordei; 
some of them more and others of them less. For there? 
are divers degrees both of virtue and vice, as among men, 
so also among Daemons. For what they sing about among 
the Greeks, concerning the Giants and the Titans, and of 
certain horrible actions of Saturn, as also of Python's com-J 
bats with Apollo, of the flights of Bacchus, and the ram- 
blings of Ceres, come nothing short of the relations about 
Osiris and Typhon and others such, which everybody may 
lawfully and freely hear as they are told in the mythology. 
The like may be also said of those things that, being veiled 
over in the mystic rites and sacred ceremonies of initiation, 
are therefore kept private from the sight and hearing of 

\ the common sort. 

26. We also hear Homer often calling such as are extra- 
ordmary good '' Godlike," and " God's compeers," and " gifted 
with wisdom by the Gods." * But the epithet derived from 
Daemons we find him to bestow upon the good and bad 
indifferently, as, 

" Daemon-like sir, make haste, why do you fear the Argives thus 1 " 

And then on the contrary, 

" When the fourth time he rushed on like a Daemon ; " 

* See Odyss. VI. 12; 11. XIII. 810; V. 438; IV. 81. 


and again where Jupiter speaks thus to Juno : 

Daemonial dame, what hath poor Priam done ' " 

To anger you so much, or what his sons, 
That you resolve fair IHum's overthrow, 
And your revengeful purpose won't forego ? 

where he seems to make Daemons to be of a mixed and 
unequal temper and inclination. Whence it is that Plato 
assigns to the Olympic Gods dexter things and odd num- 
bers, and the opposite to these to Daemons. And Xeno- 
crates also is of opinion, that such days as are commonly 
accounted unlucky, and those holy days in which are used 
scourgings, beatings of breasts, fastings, uncouth words, or 
obscene speeches, do not appertain to the honor of Gods 
or of good Daemons ; but he thinks there are in the air, 
that environs us about, certain great and mighty natures, 
but withal morose and tetrical ones, that take pleasure in 
such things as these, and if they have them, they do no 
farther mischief. On the other side, the beneficent ones 
are style d by Hesiod J'-IlQly_I)aemans^," and " Guardians 
of Mankin d," and, 

Givers of wealth, this royal gift they have. * 

And Plato calls this sort the interpreting and ministering 
kind, and saith, they are in a middle place betwixt the 
Gods and men, and that they carry up men's prayers and 
addresses thither, and bring from thence hither prophetic 
answers and distributions of good things. Empedocles 
saith also that Daemons undergo severe punishments for 
their evil deeds and misdemeanors : — 

The force of air them to the sea pursues ; 

The sea again upon the land them spews ; 

From land to th' sun's unwearied beams they're hurled, 

Thence far into tlie realm of aether whirled, 

Received by each in turn, by all abhorred ; 

until, being thus chastened and purified, they are again 
admitted to that region and order that suits their nature. 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 126. 


27. Now such tilings and such like things as these they 
tell .us are here meant concerning Typhon ; how he, moved 
with envy and spite, perpetrated most wicked and horrible 
things, and putting all things into confusion, filled both 
land and sea with infinite calamities and evils, and after- 
wards suffered for it condign punishment. But now the 
avenger of Osiris, who was both his sister and wife, having 
extinguished and put an end to the rage and madness of 
Typhon, did not forget the many contests and difficulties 
she had encountered withal, nor her wanderings and travels 
to and fro, so far as to commit her many acts both of wis- 
dom and courage to utter oblivion and silence ; but she 
mixed them with their most sacred rites of initiation, and 
together consecrated them as resemblances, dark hints, 
and imitations of her former sufferings, both as an example 
and an encouragement of piety for all men and women that 
should hereafter fall under the like hard circumstances and 
distresses. And now both herself and Osiris being for 
their virtue changed from good Daemons into Gods, as 
were Hercules and Bacchus after them, they have (and not 
without just grounds) the honors of both Gods and Dae- 
mons joined together, their power being indeed everywhere 
great, but yet more especial and eminent in things upon 
and under the earth. For Serapis they say is no other 
than Pluto, and Isis the same with Proserpine; as Arche- 
machus of Euboea informs us, as also Heraclides of 
Pontus, who delivers it as his opinion that the oracle at 
Canopus appertains to Pluto. 

28. Besides, Ptolemaeus Soter saw in a dream the colossus 
of Pluto that stood at Sinope (although he knew it not, nor 
had ever seen what shape it was of) calling upon him; and 
bidding him to convey it speedily away to Alexandria. 
And as he was ignorant and at a great loss where it should 
be found, and was telling his dream to his familiars, there 
was found by chance a certain fellow that had been a 


general rambler in all parts (his name was Sosibius), who 
affirmed he had seen at Sinope such a colossus as the king 
had dreamt of. He therefore sent Soteles and Bacchus 
thither, who in a long time and with much difficulty, and 
not without the special help of a Divine Providence, stole 
it away and brought it to Alexandria. When therefore it 
was conveyed thither and viewed, Timothy the expositor 
and Manetho the Sebennite, concluding from the Cerberus 
and serpent that stood by it that it must be the statue of 
Pluto, persuaded Ptolemy it could appertain to no other God' 
but Serapis ; for he had not this name when he came from 
thence, but after he was removed to Alexandria, he ac- 
quired the name of Serapis, which is the Egyptian for 
Pluto. And when Heraclitus the physiologist saith, Pluto 
and Bacchus are one and the same^ in whose honor men 
are mad and rave, we are thus led to the same doctrine. 
For those that will needs have Pluto to be the body, the 
soul being as it were distracted and drunken in it, do in 
my opinion make use of an over fine and subtle allegory. 
It is therefore better to make Osiris to be the same with 
Bacchus, and Serapis again with Osiris, he obtaining that 
appellation since the change of his nature. For which 
reason Serapis is a common God to all, as they who par- 
ticipate of divine matters best understand. 

29. For there is no reason we should attend to the writ- 
ings of the Phrygians, which say that one Charopos was 
daughter to Hercules, and that Typhon Avas son to Isaea- 
cus, son of Hercules ; no more than we have not to con- 
temn Phylarchus, when he writes that Bacchus first brought 
two bullocks out of India into Egypt, and that the name 
of the one was Apis, and the other Osiris ; but that Serapis 
is the name of him who orders the universe, from aaiostv, 
wliicli some use for heautifying and setting forth. For 
these sentiments of Phylarchus's are very foolish and ab- 
surd ; but theirs are much more so who affirm Serapis to 


be no God at all, but only the name of the chest in which 
Apis lies ; and that there are at Memphis certain great 
gates of copper, called the gates of oblivion and lamenta- 
tion, which, being opened when they bury the Apis, make 
a doleful and hideous noise ; which (say they) is the reason 
that, when we hear any sort of copper instrument sound- 
ing, we are presently startled and seized with fear. But 
they judge more discreetly who suppose his name to be 
derived from aehadat or comdcu (which signifies to he home 
along) and so make it to mean, that the motion of the 
universe is hurried and borne along violently. But the 
greatest part of the priests do say that Osiris and Ap is are 

both of them but one complex being, while they tell us in 
their sacred commentaries and sermons that we are to look 
upon the Apis as the beautiful image of the soul of Osiris. 
I, for my part, do believe that, if the name of Serapis be 
Egyptian, it may not improperly denote joy and merri- 
ment, because I find the Egyptians term the festival which 
we call merry-making in their language sairei. Besides, I 
find Plato to be of opinion, that Pluto is called Hades 
because he is the son of u^M (which is Modesty) and be- 
cause he is a gentle God to such as are conversant with 
him. And as among the Egyptians there are a great many 
other names that are also definitions of the things they 
express, so they call that place whither they believe men's 
souls to go after death, Amenthes, which signifies in their 
language the receiver and the giver. But whether this be 
one of those names that have been anciently brought over 
and transplanted out of Greece into Egypt, we shall con- 
sider some other time ; but at present we must hasten to 
despatch the remaining parts of the opinion here handled.  

30. Osiris therefore and Isis passed from the number of 
good Daemons into that of Gods ; but the power of Typhon 
being much obscured and weakened, and himself besides 
in great dejection of mind and in agony and, as it were, at 


the last gasp, they therefore one while use certain sacri- 
fices to comfort and appease his mind, and another while 
asrain have certain solemnities wherein thev abase and 
affront him, both by mishandling and abusing such men as 
they find to have red hair, and by breaking the neck of an 
ass down a precipice (as do the Coptites), because Typhon 
was red-haired and of the ass's complexion. Moreover, 
those of Busiris and Lycopolis never make any use of 
trumpets, because they give a sound like that of asses. 
And they altogether esteem the ass as an animal not clean 
but daemoniac, because of its resemblance to Typhon ; 
and when they make cakes at their sacrifices upon the 
months of Payni and Phaophi, they impress upon them an 
ass bound. Also, when they do their sacrifices to the Sun, 
they enjoin such as perform worship to that God neither 
to wear gold nor to give fodder to an ass. It is also most 
apparent that the Pythagoreans look upon Typhon as a 
daemoniac power ; for they say he was produced in an 
even proportion of numbers, to wit, in that of fifty-six. 
And again, they say that the property of the triangle 
appertains to Pluto, Bacchus, and Mars ; of the quadrangle 
to Ehea, Venus, Ceres, Vesta, and Juno ; of the figure of 
twelve angles to Jupiter; and of the figure of fifty-six 
angles to Typhon ; — as Eudoxus relates. 

31. And because the Egyptians are of opinion that 
Typhon was born of a red complexion, they are therefore 
used to devote to him such of the neat kind as they find 
to be of a red color ; and their observation herein is so 
very nice and strict that, if they perceive the beast to have 
but one hair about it that is either black or white, they 
account it unfit for sacrifice. For they hold that what is 
fit to be made a sacrifice must not be of a thing agreeable 
to the Gods, but contrariwise, such things as contain the 
souls of ungodly and wicked men transformed into their 
shapes. Wherefore in the more ancient times they were 


wont, after they had pronounced a solemn curse upon the 
head of the sacrifice, and had cut it off, to fling it into the 
river Nile ; but now they distribute it among strangers. 
Those also among the priests that were termed Sphragistae 
or Sealers were wont to seal the beast that was to be of- 
fered ; and the engraving of their seal was (as Castor tells 
us) a man upon his knees with his hands tied behind him, 
and a knife set under his throat. They believe, moreover, 
that the ass sufl'ers for being like him (as hath been al- 
ready spoken of), as much for the stupidity and sensualness 
of his disposition as for the redness of his color. Where- 
fore, because of all the Persian monarchs they had the 
greatest aversion for Ochus, as looking upon him as a 
villanous and abominable person, they gave him the nick- 
name of the ass ; upon which he replied : But this ass 
shall dine upon your ox. And so he slaughtered the Apis, 
as Dhion relates to us in his history. As for those that 
tell us that Typhon was seven days flying from the battle 
upon the back of an ass, and having narrowly escaped 
with his life, afterwards begat two sons called Hierosoly- 
mus and Judaeus, they are manifestly attempting, as is 
shown by the very matter, to wrest into this fable the 
relations of the Jews. 

32. And so much for the allegories and secret meanings 
which this head afl'ords us. And now we begin at another 
head, which is the account of those who seem to off'er at 
something more philosophical ; and of these we will first 
consider the more simple and plain sort. And they are 
those that tell us that, as the Greeks are used to allegorize 
Krono3 (or Saturn) into chronos (time), and Hera (or Juno) 
into aer (air) and also to resolve the generation of Vulcan 
into the change of air into fire, so also among the Egyp- 
tians, Osiris is the river Nile, who accompanies with Isis^ 
which is the earth ; and Typhon is the sea, into which the 
Nile falling is thereby destroyed and scattered, excepting 


only that part of it which the earth receives and drinks 
up, by means whereof she becomes proUfic. There is also 
a kind of a sacred hamentation used to Saturn, wherein 
they bemoan him " who was born in the left side of the 
world, and died in the right." For the Egyptians believe 
the eastern part to be the world's face, and the northern 
its right hand, and the southern its left. -And therefore 
the river Nile, holding its course from the southern parts 
towards the northern, may justly be said to have its birth 
in the left side and its death in the right ; for which 
reason, the priests account the sea abominable, and call 
salt Typhon's foam. And it is one of the things they look 
upon as unlawful and prohibited to them, to use salt at 
their tables. And they use not to salute any pilots, be- 
cause they have to do with the sea. And this is not the 
least reason of their so great aversedness to fish. They 
also make the picture of a fish to denote hatred. And 
therefore at the temple of Minerva at Sais there was carved 
in the porch an infant and an old man, and after them a 
hawk, and then a fish, and after all a hippopotamus, which, 
in a symbolical manner, contained this sentence : O ! ye 
that are born and that die, God hateth impudence. JFrom 
whence it is plain, that by a child and an old man they 
express our being born and our dying ; by a hawk, God ; 
by a fish, hatred (by reason of the sea, as hath been before 
spoken); and by a river-horse, impudence, because (as 
they say) he killeth his sire and forceth his dam. That 
also which the Pythagoreans are used to say, that the sea 
is the tear of Saturn, may seem to hint out to us that it is 
not pure nor congenial with our race. 

33. These then are the things that maybe uttered with- 
out doors and in public, they containing nothing but mat- 
ters of common cognizance. But now the most learned 
and reserved of the priests do not term the Nile only Osi- 
ris, and the sea Typhon ; but in general, the whole princi- 


pie and faculty of rendering moist they call Osiris, as 
believing it to be the cause of generation and the very 
substance of the seminal moisture. And on the other hand, 
whatever is a-dust, fiery, or any way drying and repugnant 
to wet, they call Typhon. And therefore, because they be- 
lieve he was of a red and sallow color when he was bom, 
they do not greatly care to meet with men of such looks 
nor willingly converse with them. On the other side again 
they report that Osiris, when he was born, was of a black 
complexion, because that all water renders earth, clothes, 
and clouds black, when mixed with them ; and the mois- 
ture also that is in young persons makes their hair black ; 
but grayness, like a sort of paleness, comes up through 
over much draught upon such as are now past their vigor 
and begin to decline in years. In like manner, the spring 
time is gay, fecund, and very agreeable ; but the autumn, 
through defect of moisture, is both destructive to plants 
and sickly to men. Moreover the ox called Mnevis, which 
is kept at Heliopolis (and is sacred to Osiris, and judged 
by some to be the sire of Apis), is of a coal-black color, 
and is honored in the second place after Apis. To Avhich 
we may add, that they call Egypt (which is one of the 
blackest soils in the world) as they do the black part of 
the eye, Chemia. They also liken it to the heart, by rea- 
son of its great warmth and moisture, and because it is 
mostly enclosed by and removed towards the left (that is, 
the southern) part of the earth, as the heart is with respect 
to a man's body. 

34. They believe also that the sun and moon do not go 
in chariots, but sail about the world perpetually in certain 
boats ; hinting hereby at their feeding upon and springing 
first out of moisture. They are likewise of the opinion 
that Homer (as well as Thales) had been instructed by 
the Egyptians, which made him affirm water to be the 
spring and first original of all things ; for that Oceanus 


is the same with Osiris, and Tethys with Isis, so named ; 
from rirdrj, a nurse^ because she is the mother and nurse \ 
of all things. For the Grecians call the emission of the 
genital humor drtovai'a, and carnal knowledge awovaia: they 
also call a son vlog, from vScoq, water, and vaai, to wet ; and 
likewise Bacchus vrig, the wetter, they looking upon him as I 
the lord of the humid nature, he being no other than ' 
Osiris . For Ilellanicus hath set him down Hysiris, affirm- 
ing that he heard him so pronounced by the priests ; for so 
he hath written the name of this God all along in his his- 
tory, and that, in my opinion, not without good reason, 
derived as well from his nature as his invention. 

35. And that therefore he is one and the same with 
Bacchus, who should better know than yourself. Dame 
Clea, who are not only president of the Delphic prophet- 
esses, but have been also, in right of both your par- 
ents, devoted to the Osiriac rites % And if, for the sake of 
others, we shall think ourselves obliged to lay down testi- 
monies for the proof of our present assertion, we shall 
notwithstanding remit those secrets that must not be re- 
vealed to their proper place. But now the things which 
the priests do publicly at the interment of the Apis, 
when they carry his body on a raft to be buried, do noth- 
ing differ from the procession of Bacchus. For they hang 
about them the skins of hinds, and carry branches in their 
hands, and use the same kind of shoutings and gesticula- 
tions that the ecstatics do at the inspired dances of Bac- 
chus. For which reason also many of the Greeks make 
statues of Dionysos Tauromorphos (or Bacchus in the form 
of a bull). And the Elean women, in their ordinary form 
of prayer, beseech the God to come to them with his ox's 
foot. The Argives also have a Bacchus named Bougenes 
(or ox-gotten) ; and they call him up out of the waters by 
sounding of trumpets, ffinging a young lamb into the 
abyss for him that keeps the door there ; and these trum- 


pets they hide within their thyrsi (or green houghs), as] 
Socrates, in his Treatise of Rituals, relates. Likewise the) 
tales about the Titans, and what they call the Mystic' 
Night, have a strange agreement with what they tell us of 
the discerptions, resurrections, and regenerations of Osiris ; 
as also what relates to their sepulchres. For not only the 
Egyptians (as hath been already spoken) do show in many 
several places the chests in which Osiris lies ; but the Del- 
phians also believe that the relics of Bacchus are laid up 
with them just by the oracle-place ; and the Hosii (or holy 
men) perform a secret sacrifice within the temple of Apollo, 
when the Thyiades rouse the God of the fan (as they call 
him). Now that the Greeks do not esteem Bacchus as the 
lord and president of wine only, but also of the whoh 
humid nature, Pindar alone is a sufficient witness, when] 
he saith, 

May joyous Bacchus send increase of fruit, 
The chaste autumnal light, to all my trees. 

For which cause it is forbidden to such as worship Osiris, 
either to destroy a fruit-tree or to stop up a well. 

86. And they call not only the Nile, but in general^ 
every humid, the efflux of Osiris. And a pitcher of 
water goes always first in their sacred processions, inflj 
honor of the God. And they make the figure of a fig- 
leaf both for the king and the southern climate, which fig- 
leaf is interpreted to mean the watering and fructifying of 
the universe, for it seems to bear some resemblance in its 
make to the viriHties of a man. Moreover, when they 
keep the feast of the Pamylia, which is a PhalUc or Pri- 
apeian one (as was said before), they expose to view and 
carry about a certain image of a man with a threefold 
privity ; for this God is a first origin, and every first origin 
doth by its fecundity multiply what proceeds from it. And 
we are commonly used instead of " many times " to say 
" thrice," as " thrice happy," and, 


As many bonds thrice told, and infinite.* 

Unless (by Jove) we are to understand the word treble as 
spoken by the ancients in a proper sense. For the humid 
nature, being in the beginning the chief source and origin of 
the universe, must of consequence produce the three first 
bodies, — the earth, air, and fire. For the story which is 
here told by way of surplusage to the tale — how that Ty- 
phon threw the privity of Osiris into the river, and that 
Isis could not find it, and therefore fashioned and prepared 
the resemblance and effigies of it, and appointed it to be 
worshipped and carried about in their processions, like as 
in the Grecian Phallephoria — amounts but to this, to in- 
struct and teach us that the prolific and generative proper- 
ty of this God had moisture for its first matter, and that by 
means of moisture it came to immix itself with things 
capable of generation. We have also another story told 
us by the Egyptians, — how that once Apopis, brother to 
the Sun, fell at variance with Jupiter and made war upon 
him ; but Jupiter, entering into an alliance with Osiris 
and by his means overthrowing his enemy in a pitched 
battle, afterwards adopted him for his son and gave him 
the name of Dionysus. It is easy to show that this fabu- 
lar relation borders also upon the verity of physical sci- 
ence. For the Egyptians call the wind Jupiter, with which 
the parching and fiery property makes war ; and though 
this be not the sun, yet hath it some cognation with the 
sun. But now moisture, extinguishing the excessiveness 
of drought, increases and strengthens the exhalations of 
wet, which give food and vigor to the air. 

37. Moreover, the ivy, which the Greeks use to conse- 
crate to Bacchus, is called by the Egyptians chenosiris^ 
which word (as they tell lis) signifies in their language 
Osiris's tree. Ariston therefore, who wrote of the colony 
of the Athenians, lighted upon a certain epistle of Alex- 

» Odysg. VIII. 840. 

VOL. IV. 7 


archus, in which it is related that Bacchus, the son of Ju 
piter and Isis, is not called Osiris by the Egyptians, bu 
Arsaphes, which denotes valiant. This is hinted at by Her 
maeus also, in his first book about the Egyptians ; for h 
saith, the name of Osiris is to be interpreted stout. I shall 
now pass by Mnaseas, wh® joins Bacchus, Osiris, and Sera- 
pis together, and makes them the same with Epaphus. 
I shall also omit Anticlides, who saith that Isis was the 
daughter of Prometheus, and that she was married to Bac- 
chus. For the fore-mentioned proprieties of their festivals 
and sacrifices afford us a much more clear evidence thau] 
the authorities of writers. 

38. They believe likewise that of all the stars, the Sir 
ius (or Dog) is proper to Isis, because it bringeth on the 
flowing of the Nile. They also pay divine honor to the 
lion, and adorn the gates of their temples with the yawn- 
ing mouths of lions, because the Nile then overflows its 

When first the mounting sun the Lion meets.* 

And as they term the Nile the efflux of Osiris, so they 
hold and esteem the earth for the body of Isis ; and not all 
of it either, but that part only which the Nile, as it were, 
leaps over, and thereby impregnates and mixes with it. 
And by this amorous congress they produce Horus. Now 
this Horus is that Hora, or sweet season and just temper- 
ament of the ambient air, which nourisheth and preserveth 
all things ; and they report him to have been nursed by 
Latona in the marshy grounds about Buto, because moist 
and watery land best feeds those exhaled vapors which 
quench and relax drought and parching heat. But those 
parts of the country which are outmost and upon the con- 
fines and sea-coast they call Nephthys ; and therefore they 
give her the name of Teleutaea (or the outmost) and report 
her to be married to Typhon. When therefore the Nile 

* From Aratus. 



is excessive great, and so far passes its ordinary bounds 
that it approaches to those that inhabit the outmost quar 
ters, they call this Osiris's accompanying with Nephthys, 
found out by the springing up of plants thereupon, whereof 
the melilot is one ; which (as the story tells us), being 
dropped behind and left there, gave Typhon to understand 
the wrong that had been done to his bed. Which made 
them say that Isis had a lawful son called Horus, and 
Nephthys a bastard called Anubis. And indeed they re- 
cord in the successions of their kings, that Nephthys being 
married to Typhon was at first barren. Now if they do 
not mean this of a woman but of a Goddess, they must 
needs hint that the earth, by reason of its solidity, is in its 
own nature unfruitful and barren. 

39. And the conspiracy and usurpation of Ty;^hon will 
be the power of the d rough t, which then prevails and dis- 
sipates that generative moisture which both begets the Nile 
and increases it. And the queen of Ethiopia, that abetted 
his quarrel, will denote the southern winds that come from 
Ethiopia. For when these come to overpower the Etesian 
(or anniversary) winds which drive the clouds towards 
Ethiopia, and by that means prevent those showers of rain 
which should augment the Nile from discharging them-, 
selves down, Typhon then being rampant scorcheth all, 
and being wholly master of the Nile, which now through 
weakness and debility draws in its head and takes a con- 
trary course, he next thrusts him hollow and sunk as he is ' 
into the sea. For the story that is told us of the closing 
up of Osiris in a chest seems to me to be nothing else but 
an imitation of the withdrawing and disappearing of the 
water. For which reason they tell us that Osiris was miss- 
ing upon the month of Athyr ; at which time the Etesian 
winds being wholly ceased, the Nile returns to his channel, 
and the country looks bare ; the night also growing longer, 
the darkness increases, and so the power of light fades 


away and is overcome. And as the priests act several 
other mehmcholy things upon this occasion, so they cover 
a gilded cow with a black linen pall, and thus expose her 
to public view at the mourning of the Goddess, for four 
days together, beginning at the seventeenth of the month. 
For the things they mourn for are also four ; the first 
whereof is the falling and recess of the river Nile : the 
second, because the northern winds are then quite sup- 
pressed by the southern overpowering them; the third, 
because the day is grown shorter than the night ; and the 
last and chiefest of all, the barrenness of the earth, to- 
gether with the nakedness of the trees, which then cast 1 
their leaves. And on the nineteenth day at night they go 
down to the sea-side, and the priest and sacred livery bring 
forth the chest, having within it a little golden ark into 
which they pour fresh and potable water, and all that are 
there present give a great shout for joy that Osiris is now 
found. Then they take fertile mould, and stir it about in 
that water, and when they have mixed with it several very 
costly odors and spices, they form it into a little image, in 
fashion like a crescent, and then dress it up in fine clothes 
and adorn it, intimating hereby that they believe these 
Gods to be the substance of earth and water. 

40. But Isis again recovering Osiris, and rearing up 
Horus, made strong by exhalations, mists, and clouds, 
Typhon was indeed reduced, but not executed ; for the 
Goddess who is sovereign over the earth would not suffer 
the opposite nature to wet to be utterly extinguished, but 
loosed it and let it go, being desirous the mixture should 
continue. For it would be impossible for the world to be 
complete afnd perfect, if the property of fire should fail 
and be wanting. And as these things are not spoken by 
them without a considerable show of reason, so neither 
have we reason wholly to contemn this other account which 
they give us ; which is, that Typhon in the more ancient 


times was master of Osiris's portion. For (say they) Egypt 
was once all sea. For which reason it is found at this day 
to have abundance of fish-shells, both in its mines and on 
its mountains. And besides that, all the springs and wells 
(which in that country are extreme numerous) have in 
them a salt and brackish water, as if some remainder of 
the ancient sea had run thither, to be laid up in store. But 
in process of time, Horus got the upper hand of Typhon ; 
that is, tliere happened such an opportunity of sudden and 
tempestuous showers of rain, that the Nile pushed the sea 
out, and discovered the champaign land, and afterwards 
filled it up with continual profusions of mud ; all which 
hath the testimony of sense to confirm it. For we see at 
this day that, as the river drives down fresh mud and lays 
new earth unto the old, the sea by degrees gives back and 
the salt water runs off, as the parts in the bottom gain 
height by new accessions of mud. We see, moreover, that 
the Pharos, which Homer observed in his time to be a 
whole day's sail from Egypt, is now a part of it ; not be- 
cause it changed its place or came nearer the shore than 
before, but because, the river still adding to and increasing 
the main land, the intermediate sea was obliged to retire. 

To speak the truth, these things are not far unlike the 
explications which the Stoics used to give of the Gods. 
For they also say that the generative and nutritive 
property of the air is called Bacchus ; the striking and 
dividing property, Hercules ; the receptive property, Am- 
mon ; that which passes through the earth and fruits, 
Ceres and Proserpine ; and that which passes through the 
sea, Neptune. 

41. But those who join with these physiological ac- 
counts certain mathematical matters relating to astronomy 
suppose Typhon to mean the world of the sun, and Osiris 
that of the moon ; for that the moon, being endued with a 
prolific and moistening light, is very favorable both to the 


breeding ot animals and the springing up of plants ; but 
the sun, having in it an immoderate and excessive fire, 
burns and dries up such things as grow up and look green, 
and by its scorching heat renders a great part of the world 
wholly uninhabitable, and very often gets the better of the 
moon. For which reason the Egyptians always call Typlun 
Seth, which in their language signifies a domineering and 
compelling power. And they tell us in their mythology, 
that Hercules is placed in the sun and rides about the 
world in it, and that Hermes doth the like in the moon. 
For the operations of the moon seem to resemble reason 
and to proceed from wisdom, but those of the sun to be 
like unto strokes efiected by violence and mere strength. 
But the Stoics affirm the sun to be kindled and fed by the 
sea, and the moon by the waters of springs and pools, 
which send up a sweet and soft exhalation to it. 

42. It is fabled by the Egyptians that Osiris's death 
happened upon the seventeenth day of the month, at which 
time it is evident that the moon is at the fullest. For 
which reason the Pythagoreans call that day iVntiphraxis 
(or dujunction) and utterly abominate the very number. 
For the middle number seventeen, falling in betwixt the 
square number sixteen and the oblong parallelogram 
eighteen (which are the only plane numbers that h^tve 
their peripheries equal with their areas), disjoins and 
separates them from each other ; and being divided into 
unequal portions, it makes the sesquioctave proportion 
(9 : 8). Moreover, there are some that affirm Osiris to have 
lived eight and twenty years ; and others again, that he 
only reigned so long, for that is the just number of the 
moon's degrees of light and of the days wherein she per- 
forms her circuit. And after they have cleft the tree, at 
the solemnity they call Osiris's Burial, they next form it 
into an ark in fashion like a crescent, because the moon, 
when it joins the sun, becomes first of that figure and 


then vanishes away. Likewise the division of Osiris into 
fourteen parts sets forth unto us symbolically the number 
of days in which that luminary is decreasing, from the full 
to the change. Moreover, the day upon which she first 
appears, after she hath now escaped the solar rays and 
passed by the sun, they term " imperfect good ; " for Osiris 
is beneficent, and as this name hath many other significa- 
tions, so what they call " eff'ectuating and beneficent force " 
is none of the least. Hermaeus also tells us, that his other 
name of Omphis, when interpreted, denotes a benefactor. 

43. They moreover believe that the several risings of 
the river Nile bear a certain proportion to the variations of 
light in the moon. For they say that its highest rise, 
which is at Elephantine, is eight and twenty cubits high, 
which is the number of its several lights and the measures 
of its monthly course ; and that at Mendes and Xois, 
which is the lowest of all, it is six cubits high, which 
answers the half-moon ; but that the middlemost rise, 
which is at Memphis, is (when it is at its just height) four- 
teen cubits high, which answers the full moon. They also 
say that the Apis is the living image of Osiris, and that he 
is begotten when a prolific light darts down from the moon 
and touches the cow when she is disposed for procreation ; 
for which reason many things in the Apis bear resemblance 
to the shapes of the moon, it having light colors intermixed 
with shady ones. Moreover, upon the kalends of the 
month Phamenoth they keep a certain holiday, by them 
called Osiris's ascent into the moon, and they account it the 
beginning of their spring. Thus they place the power of 
Osiris in the moon, and affirm him to be there married with 
Isis, which is generation. For which cause they style the 
moon the mother of the world, and believe her to have the 
nature both of male and female, because she is first filled 
and impregnated by the sun, and then herself sends forth 
generative principles into the air, and from thence scatters 


them down upon the earth. For that Typhonian destruc- 
tion doth not always prevail ; but it is very often subdued 
by generation and fast bound like a prisoner, but after- 
wards gets up again and makes war upon Horus. Now 
this Horus is the terrestrial world, which is not wholly 
(exempted from either generation or destruction. 

44. But there are some that will have this tale to be a 
figurative representation of the eclipses. For the moon is 
under an eclipse at the full, when the sun is in opposition 
to her, because she then falls into the shadow of the 
earth, as they say Osiris did into his chest. But she hides 
and obscures the sun at the new moon, upon the thirtieth 
day of the month, but doth not extinguish the sun quite, 
any more than Isis did Typhon. And when Nephthys was 
delivered of Anubis, Isis owned the child. For Nephthys 
is that part of the world which is below the earth, and 
invisible to us ; and Isis that which is above the earth, and 
visible. But that which touches upon both these, and is 
called the horizon (or bounding circle) and is common to 
them both, is called Anubis, and resembles in shape the 
dog, because the dog makes use of his sight by night as 
well as by day. And therefore Anubis seems to me to 
have a power among the Egyptians much like to that of 
Hecate among the Grecians, he being as well terrestrial as 
Olympic. Some again think Anubis to be Saturn ; where- 
fore, they say, because he produces all things out of him- 
self and breeds them in himself, he had the name of Kyon 
(which signifies in Greek both a dog and a breeder). 
Moreover, those that worship the dog have a certain secret 
meaning that must not be here revealed. And in the more 
remote and ancient times, the dog had the highest honor 
paid him in Egypt ; but after that Cambyses had slain the 
Apis and thrown him away contemptuously like a carrion, 
no animal came near to him except the dog only ; upon 
this he lost his first honor and the right he had of being 



worshipped above other creatures. There are also some 
that will have the shadow of the earth, into which they 
believe the moon to fall when eclipsed, to be called 

45. Wherefore it seems to me not to be unconsonant to 
reason to hold that each of them apart is not in the riglrt^ 
bu t all t ogether are. For it is not drought, nor wind, nor 
sea, nor darkness, but every part of Nature that is hurtful 
or destructive, that belongs to Typhon. For we are not to 
place the first origins of the universe in inanimate bodies, 
as do Democritus and Epicurus ; nor to make one reason, 
and one forecast overruling and containing all things, the 
creator of matter without attribute, as the Stoics do ; for it 
is alike impossible for any thing bad to exist where God is 
the cause of all things, and for any thing good to exist 
where he is the cause of nothing. For the harmony of 
the world is (according to Heraclitus) like that of a bow 
or a harp, alternately tightened and relaxed; and according 
to Euripides, 

Kor good nor bad here's to be found apart ; 
But both immixed in one, for greater art.* 

And therefore this most ancient opinion hath been handed 
down from the theologists and law-givers to the poets and 
philosophers, it having an original fathered upon none, but 
having gained a persuasion both strong and indelible, and 
being everywhere professed and received by barbarians as 
well as Grecians, — and that not only in vulgar discourses 
and public fame, but also in their secret mysteries and 
open sacrifices, — that the world is neither hurried about 
by wild chance without intelligence, discourse, and direc- 
tion, nor yet that there is but one reason, which as it were 
with a rudder or with gentle and easy reins directs it and 
holds it in ; but that on the contrary, there are in it several 
differing things, and those made up of bad as well as good; 

* From the Aeolus of Euripides, Frag. 21. 



or rather (to speak more plainly) that Nature produces 
nothing here but what is mixed and tempered. Not that 
there is as it were one store-keeper, who out of two differ- 
ent casks dispenses to us human affairs adulterated and 
mixed together, * as a host doth his liquors ; but by 
reason of two contrary origins and opposite powers — 
whereof the one leads to the right hand and in a direct 
line, and the other turns to the contrary hand and goes 
athwart — both human life is mixed, and the world (if not 
all, yet that part which is about the earth and below the 
moon) is become very unequal and various, and liable to 
all manner of changes. For if nothing can come without 
a cause, and if a good thing cannot afford a cause of evil. 
Nature then must certainly have a peculiar source and 
origin of evil as well as of good. 

46. And this is the opinion of the greatest and wisest 
part of mankind. For some believe that there are two 
Gods, as it were two rival workmen, the one whereof they 
make to be the maker of good things, and the other of 
bad. And some call the better of these God, and the other 
Daemon ; as doth Zoroaster the Magian whom they report 
to be five thousand years elder than the Trojan times. 
This Zoroaster now called the one of these Horomazes, 
and the other Arimanius ; and affirmed, moreover, that the 
one of them did, of any thing sensible, the most resemble 
light, and the other darkness and ignorance ; but that 
Mithras was in the middle betwixt them. For which cause 
the Persians call Mithras the Mediator. And they tell us, 
that he first tau^rht mankind to make vows and offerinofs of 
thanksgiving to the one, and to offer averting and feral 
sacrifice to the other. For they beat a certain plant called 
omomi in a mortar, and call upon Pluto and the dark ; and 
then mix it with the blood of a sacrificed wolf, and convey 

 lie alludes to Homer, who feigns Jupiter to have in his house two differing 
jars, the one filled with good things, and the other with bad. See 11. XXI V. 527. 


it to a certain place where the sun never shines, and there 
cast it away. For of plants they believe that some apper- 
tain to the good God, and others again to the evil Daemon ; 
and likewise they think that such animals as dogs, fowls, 
and urchins belong to the good, but water animals to the 
bad, for which reason they account him happy that kills 
most of these. 

47. These men moreover tell us a great many romantic 
things about these Gods, whereof these are some. They 
say that, Horomazes springing from purest light, and Ari- 
manius on the other hand from pitchy darkness, these two 
are therefore at war with one another; and that Horo- 
mazes made six Gods, whereof the first was the author of 
benevolence, the second of truth, the third of law and 
order; and the rest, one of wisdom, another of wealth, 
and a third of that pleasure which accrues from good 
actions ; and that Arimanius likewise made the like num- 
ber of contrary Gods to confront them. After this, Horo- 
mazes, having first trebled his own magnitude, mounted 
up aloft, as far above the sun as the sun itself above the 
earth, and so bespangled the heavens with stars. But one 
star (called Sirius, or the Dog) he set as a kind of sentinel 
or scout before all the rest. And after he had made four 
and twenty Gods more, he placed them all in an egg-shell. 
But those that were made by Arimanius (being themselves 
also of the like number) breaking a hole in this beauteous 
and glazed egg-shell, bad things came by this means to be 
intermixed with good. But the fatal time is now approach- 
ing, in which Arimanius, who by means of this brings 
])lagues and famines upon the earth, must of necessity be 
himself utterly extinguished and destroyed ; at which time, 
tlie earth being made plain and level, there will be one 
life and one society of mankind, made all hay)py and of 
one speech. But Theopompus saith, that, according to 
the opinion of the Magi, each of these Gods subdues and 


is subdued by turns for the space of three thousand years 
apiece, and that for three thousand years more they quarrel 
and fight, and destroy each other's works ; but that at last 
Pluto shall fail, and mankind shall be happy, and neither 
need foo d nor yield a shadow. And that the God who has 
projected these things shall then for some time take his 
repose and rest ; but yet this time is not so much to him, 
although it seem so to man, whose sleep is but short. 

f) 48. Such then is the mythology of the Magi. But the 
Chaldaeans say, there are Gods of the planets also, two 
whereof they style benefics, and two malefics ; the other 
three they pronounce to be common and indifferent. As 
for the Grecians, their opinions are obvious and well 

, known to every one ; to wit, that they make the good 
part of the world to appertain to Jupiter Olympius, and the 

j hateful part to Pluto ; and likewise, that they fable Har- 
monia to have been begotten by Venus and Mars, the one 
whereof is rough and quarrelsome, and the other sweet 
and generative. In the next place consider we the great 
agreement of the philosophers wdth these people. For 
Heraclitus doth in plain and naked terms call war the 
father, the king, and the lord of all things ; and saith that 
Homer, when he first prayed, 

Discord be damned from Gods and human race,* 

little thought he was then cursing the origination of all 
things, they owing their rise to aversation and quarrel. 
lie also saith, that the sun will never exceed his proper 
bounds ; and if he should, that 

Tongues, aids of justice, soon will find him out. 

Empedocles also calls the benefic principle love and friend- 
ship, and very often sweet-looked harmony ; and the evil 

Pernicious enmity and bloody hate. 
* n. XVIII. 107. 



The Pythagoreans use a great number of terms as attri 
butes of these two prmciples ; of the good, they use the 
luiit, the terminate, the permanent, the straight, the odd, 
the square, the equal, the dexter, and the lucid ; and 
again of the bad, the two, the inter minate, the fluent, the 
crooked, the even, the oblong, the unequal, the sinister, 
and the dark ; insomuch that all these are looked upon as 
principles of generation. But Anaxagoras made but two, 
the intelligence and the interminate ; and Aristotle called 
the first of these form, and the latter privation. But Plato 
in many places, as it were shading and veiling over his 
opinion, names the first of these opposite principles the 
Same, and the second the Other. But in his book of Laws, 
when he was now grown old, he afi[irmed, not in riddles 
and emblems but in plain and proper words, that the 
world is not moved by one soul, but perhaps by a great j 
many, but not by fewer than two ; the one of which is '. 
beneficent, and the other contrary to it and the author of 
things con.trary. He also leaves a certain third nature in ! 
the midst between, which is neither without soul nor with- 
out reason, nor void of a self-moving power (as some sup- 
pose), but rests upon both of the preceding principles, but 
yet so as still to afl'ect, desire, and pursue the better of 
them ; as I shall make out in the ensuing part of this dis- 
course, in which I design to reconcile the theology of the 
Egyptians principally with this sort of philosophy. 

49. For the frame and constitution of this world is made 
up of contrary powers, but yet such as are not of such 
equal strength but that the better is still predominant. 
But it is impossible for the ill one to be quite extinguished, 
because much of it is interwoven with the body and much 
with the soul of the universe, and it always maintains a 
fierce combat with the better part. And therefore in the 
soul, intellect and reason, which is the prince and master 
of all the best things, is Osiris ; and in the eart h, in the 


winds, in the waters, in the heaven, and in the stars, what 
is ranged, fixed, and in a sound constitution (as orderly- 
seasons, due temperament of air, and the revolutions of 
the stars) is the efflux and appearing image of Osiris. 
Again, the passionate, Titanic, irrational, and brutal part 
of the soul is Typhon ; and what in the corporeal nature 
is adventitious, morbid, and tumultuous (as irregular seas- 
ons, distemperatures of air, eclipses of the svm, and dis- 
appearings of the moon) is, as it were, the incursions and 
devastations of Typhon. And the name of Seth, by which 
they call Typhon, declares as much ; for it denotes a 
domineering and compelling power, and also very often 
an overturning, and again a leaping over. There are also 
some that say that Bebon was one of Typhon's companions ; 
but Manetho saith, Typhon himself was called Bebon. 
Now that name signifies restraining and hindering ; as 
who should say, " while all things march along in a reg- 
ular course and move steadily toward their natural end, 
the power of Typhon stands in their way and stops them." 
50. For which reason they assign him the ass, the most 
brutal and sottish of all the tame beasts, and the crocodile 
and river-horse, the most savage and fierce of all the wild 
beasts. Of the ass we have spoken already. They show 
us at Hermopolis the statue of Typhon, which is a river- 
horse with a hawk on his back fighting with a serpent ; 
where they set out Typhon by the river-horse, and by the 
hawk that power and principle which Typhon possesses 
himself of by violence, and thereupon ceases not to disturb 
others and to be disturbed himself by his malice. For 
which reason also, Avhen they are to off'er sacrifice upon 
the seventh day of the month Tybi, at the festival Avhich 
they call the Arrival of Isis out of Phoenicia, they print 
the river-horse bound upon their sacred cakes. Besides 
this, there is a constant custom at the town of Apollo, for 
every one to eat some part of a crocodile ; and having 



upon a certain set day hunted down as many of them as 
they are able, they kill them, and throw down their car- 
casses before the temple. And they tell us that Typhou 
made his escape from Horus in the form of a crocodile ; 
for they make all bad and noxious things — whether ani 
mals, plants or passions — to be the works, the members 
and the motions of Typhon. 

51. On the other hand, they represent Osiris by an eye 
and a sceptre, the one whereof expresses forecast, and the 
other power. In like manner Homer, when he called the 
governor and monarch of all the world 

Supremest Jove, and mighty Counsellor,* 

seems to me to denote his imperial power by supremest, 
and his well-advisedness and discretion by Counsellor. 
They also oftentimes describe this God by a hawk, because 
he exceeds in quickness of sight and velocity in flying, and 
sustains himself with very little food. He is also said to 
fly over the bodies of dead men that lie unburied, and 
to drop down earth upon their eyes. Likewise, when he 
alights down upon the bank of any river to assuage his 
thirst, he sets his feathers up on end, and after he hath 
done drinking, he lets them fall again. Which he plainly 
doth because he is now safe and escaped from the danger 
of the crocodile ; but if he chances to be catched, his 
feathers then continue stiff as before. They also show us 
everywhere Osiris's statue in the shape of a man, with his 
private part erect, to betoken unto us liis faculty of gen- 
eration and nutrition ; and they dress up his images in a 
flame-colored robe, esteeming the sun as the body of the 
power of good, and as the visible image of intelligible 
substance. Wherefore we have good reason to reject 
those that ascribe the sun's globe unto Typhon, to whom 
appertaineth nothing of a lucid or salutary nature, nor 
order, nor generation, nor motion attended with measure 

 II. VIII. 22. 


and proportion, but the clean contrary to them. Neither 
is that parching drought, which destroys many animals 
and plants, to be accounted as an effect of the sun, but 
of those winds and waters which in the earth and air are 
not tempered according to the season, at which time the 
principle of the unordered and in terminate nature acts at 
random, and so stifles and suppresses those exhalations 
that should ascend. 

52. Moreover, in the sacred hymns of Osiris they call 
him up " who lies hidden in the arms of the sun." And 
upon the thirtieth day of the month Epiphi they keep a 
certain festival called the Birthday of the eyes of Horus, 
when the sun and the moon are in one direct line ; as es- 
teeming not only the moon but also the sun to be the eye 
and light of Horus. Likewise the three and twentieth 
day of the month Phaophi they make to be the nativity 
of the staves of the sun, which they observe after the 
autumnal equinox, intimating hereby that he now wants, 
as it were, a prop and a stay, as suffering a great diminution 
both of heat and light by his declining and moving ob- 
liquely from us. Besides this, they lead the sacred cow 
seven times about her temple at the time of the winter 
solstice. And this going round is called the seeking of 
Osiris, the Goddess being in great distress for water in 
winter time. And the reason of her going round so many 
times is because the sun finishes his passage from the win- 
ter to the summer tropic in the seventh month. It is re- 
ported also that Horus, the son of Isis, was the first that 
ever sacrificed to the sun upon the fourth day of the month, 
as we find it written in a book called the Birthdays of 
Horus. Moreover, they offer incense to the sun three 
times every day ; resin at his rising, myrrh when it is in 
the mid-heaven, and that they call Kyphi about the time 
of his setting. (What each of these means, I shall after 
wards explain.) Now they are of opinion that the sun is 
atoned and pacified by all these. 


But to what purpose should I heap together many things 
of this nature ? For there are some that scruple not to say 
plainly that Osiris is the sun, and that he is called Sirius 
hy the Greeks, although the Egyptians, adding the article 
to his name, have obscured and brought its sense into 
question. They also declare Isis to be no other than the 
jnoon, and say that such statues of her as are horned 
were made in imitation of the crescent ; and that the black 
habit in which she so passionately pursues the sun, sets 
forth her disappearings and eclipses. For which reason 
they used to invoke the moon in love-concerns ; and Eu- 
doxus also saith that Isis presides over love-matters. Now 
these things have in them a show and semblance of reason ; 
whereas they that would make Typhon to be the sun de- 
serve not to be heard. 

53. But we must again resume our proper discourse. 
Isis is indeed that property of Nature which is feminine 
and receptive of all production ; in which sense she was 
called the nurse and the all-receiver by Plato, and the God- 
dess with ten thousand names by the common sort, be- 
cause being transmuted by reason she receives all manner 
of shapes and guises. But she hath a natural love to the 
prime and principal of all beings (which is the good prin- 
ciple), and eagerly affects it and pursues after it ; and she 
shuns and repels her part of the evil one. And although 
she be indeed both the receptacle and matter of either 
nature, yet she always of herself inclines to the better of 
them, and readily gives way to it to generate upon her and 
to sow its effluxes and resemblances into her ; and she re- 
joices and is very glad when she is impregnated and filled 
with productions. For generation is the production of an 
image of the real substance upon matter, and what is gen- 
erated is an imitation of what is in truth. 

54. And therefore not without great consonancy do they 
fable that the soul of Osiris is eternal and incorruptible, 


but that his body is often torn in pieces and destroyed by 
Typhon, and that Isis wanders to and fro to look him out, 
and when she hath found him, puts him togethei again. 
For the permanent being, the mental nature, and the good, 
is itself above corruption and change ; but the sensitive 
and corporeal part takes off certain images from it, and 
receives certain proportions, shapes, and resemblances, 
which, like impressions upon wax, do not continue always, 
but are swallowed up by the disorderly and tumultuous 
part, which is chased hither from the upper region and 
makes war with Horns, who is born of Isis, being the sen- 
sible image of the mental world. For which reason he is 
said to be prosecuted for bastardy by Typhon, as not being 
pure and sincere, — like his father, the pure absolute reason, 
unmixed and impassible, — but embased with matter by 
corporeity. But he gets the better of him, and carries the 
cause, Hermes (that is, reason) witnessing and proving 
that Nature produces the world by becoming herself of 
like form with the mental property. Moreover, the gen- 
eration of Apollo by Isis and Osiris, while the Gods were 
yet in Rhea's womb, hints out unto us that, before this 
world became visible and was completed by reason, matter, 
being convinced by Nature that she was imperfect alone, 
brought forth the first production. For which reason they 
also say, this deity was born a cripple in the dark, and 
they call him the elder Horns ; for he was not the world, 
but a kind of a picture and phantom of the woi-ld to be 

55. This Horns is terminate and complete of himself, 
yet hath he not quite destroyed Typhon, but only taken off 
his over great activity and brutal force. Whence it is they 
tell us that at Copto the statue of Horus holds f\ist in 
hand the privities of Typhon ; and they fable that Mercury 
took out Typhon's sinews and used them for harp-strings, 
to denote unto us that, when reason composed the universe, 

OF ISIS AND osims. 115 

it made one concord out of many discords, and did not 
abolish but accomplish* the corruptible faculty. Whence 
it comes that this power, being weak and feeble in the 
present state of things, blends and mixes with passible and 
mutable parts of the world, and so becomes in the earth 
the causer of concussions and shakings, and in the air of 
parching droughts and tempestuous winds, as also of hur- 
ricanes and thunders. It likewise infects both waters and 
winds with pestilential diseases, and runs up and insolently 
rages as high as the very moon, suppressing many times 
and blackening the kicid part, as the Egyptians believe. 
They relate that Typhon one while, smote Horus's eye, and 
another while^ plucked it out and swallowed it up, and 
afterwards gave it back to the sun ; intimating by the blow 
the monthly diminution of the moon, and by the blinding 
of him its eclipse, which the sun cures again by shining 
presently upon it as soon as it hath escaped from the 
shadow of the earth. 

06. Now the better and more divine nature consists of 
three ; or of the intelligible part, of matter, and of that 
Avhich is made up of both, which the Greeks call Cosmos 
(that is trimness) and we the world. Plato therefore uses 
to name the intelligible part the for ni, the sample, and the 
father ; and matter the mother, the nurse, and the seat and 
receptacle of generation ; and that again which is made 
up of both, the offspring and the production. And one 
would conjecture that the Egyptians called it the most per- 
fect of triangles, because they likened the nature of the 
universe principally to that ; which Plato also in his Com- 
monwealth seems to have made use of to the same purpose, 
when he forms his nuptial diagram. Now in that triangle 
the perpendicular consists of three parts, the base of four, 
and the subtense of five, its square being equal in value 

* If we adopt Bentley's emendation avcTcfipuae for avenXffpuae, we must translate, 
*' did not abolish, but merely maimed, the corruptible faculty." (G.) 


with the squares of the two that contain it. We are 
therefore to take the perpendicular to represent the male 
property, the base the female, and the subtense that which 
is produced by them both. We are likewise to look upon 
Osiris as the first cause, Isis as the faculty of reception, 
and Hqrusjisjhe effect. For the number three is the first 
odd and perfect number, and the number four is a square, 
having for its side the even number two. The number 
five also in some respects resembles the father and in some 
again the mother, being made up of three and two ; be- 
sides, TtdvTci [all things) seems to be derived from mvte {jive) 
and they use mfXTtdaaGdai (which is telling five) for count- 
ing.* Moreover, the number five makes a square equal to 
the number of letters used among the Egyptians, as also 
to the number of years which Apis lived. They are also 
used to call Horus Min, which signifieth as much as seen ; 
for the world is perceptible to sense and visible. And Isis 
they sometimes call Muth, and sometimes again Athyri, 
and sometimes Methyer. And by the first of these names 
they mean mother, by the second Horus's mundane house 
(as Plato calls it, the place and receptacle of generation) ; 
but the third is compounded of two words, the one where- 
of signifies full, and the other the cause ; for the matter 
of the world is full, and it is closely joined with the good 
and pure and well-ordered principle. 

57. And it may be, Hesiod also, when he makes the first 
things of all to be chaos, earth, hell, and love, may be 
thought to take up no other principles than these, if we 
apply these names as we have already disposed them, to 
wit, that of earth to Isis, that of love to Osiris, and that 
of hell to Typhon ; for he seems to lay the chaos under 
all, as a kind of room or place for the world to lie in. 
And the subject we are now upon seems in a manner to 
call for Plato's tale, which Socrates tells us in the Sympo- 

* See the preceding essay, § 36. 


siiim about the production of Eros (or Love), where he saith, 
that once on a time Poverty, having a mighty desu'e of 
children, laid her down by Plenty's side as he was asleep, 
and that she thereupon conceiving by him brought forth 
Eros, who was of a nature both mixed and various, as 
coming of a father that was good and wise and had 
sufficiency of all things, but of a mother that Avas very 
needy and poor ; and that by reason of her indigence she 
still hankered after another, and was eagerly importunate 
for another. For this same Plenty is no other than the 
first amiable, desirable, complete, and sufficient being ; and 
matter is that which he called Poverty, she being of her- 
self alone destitute of the property of good, but when she 
is impregnated by it, she still desires and craves for more. 
Moreover, the world (or Horus) that is produced out of 
these two, being not eternal, nor impassible, nor incorrupt- 
ible, but ever a making, does therefore machinate, partly 
by shifting of accidents and partly by circular motions, to 
remain still young and never to die. 

58. But we must remember that we are not to make use 
of fables as if they were doctrinal throughout, but only to 
take that in each of them which we shall judge to make a 
pertinent resemblance. And therefore, when we treat of 
matter, we need not (with respect to the sentiments of some 
philosophers) to conceit in our minds a certain body void 
of soul and of all quality, and of itself wholly idle and 
unactive. For we use to call oil the matter of an unguent, 
and gold the matter of a statue, though they are not desti- 
tute of all quality. And we render the very soul and mind 
of a man as matter to reason, to be dressed up and com- 
posed into science and virtue. There have been some also 
that have made the mind to be a receptacle of forms and a 
kind of imprimary for things intelligible ; and some are of 
opinion again that the genital humidity in the female sex 
is no active property nor efficient principle, but only the 


matter and nutriment of the production. Which when we 
retain in our memories, we ought to conceive likewise that 
this Goddess, which always participates of the first God 
and is ever taken up with the love of those excellencies 
and charms that are about him, is not by nature opposite 
to him ; but that, as we are used to say of a good na- 
tured woman, that, though she be married to a man and 
constantly enjoys his embraces, yet she hath a fond kind 
of longing after him, so hath she always a strong incli- 
nation to the God, though she be present and round about 
him, and though she be impregnated with his most prime 
and pure particles. 

59. But where Typhon falls in and touches upon her 
extreme parts, it is there she appears melancholy, and is 
said to mourn, and to look for certain relics and pieces of 
Osiris, and to array them with all diligence ; she receiving 
all things that die and laying them up within herself, as 
she again brings forth and sends up out of herself all such 
things as are produced. And those proportions, forms, 
and effluxes of the God that are in the heaven and stars 
do indeed continue always the same ; but those that are 
sown abroad into mutable things, as into land, sea, plants, 
and animals, are resolved, destroyed, and buried, and after- 
wards show themselves again very often, and come up anew 
in several different productions. For which reason the 
fable makes Typhon to be married to Nephthys, and Osiris 
to have accompanied with her by stealth. For the utmost 
and most extreme parts of matter, which they call Neph- 
thys and the end, is mostly under the power of the destruc- 
tive faculty ; but the fecund and salutary power dispenses 
but a feeble and languid seed into those parts, which is all 
destroyed by Typhon, except only what Isis taking up doth 
preserve, cherish, and improve. 

60. And in general, 'r^g^n is the jprevailing power, as 
both Plato and Aristotle insinuate. Moreover, the genera- 


tive and salutary part of nature hath its motign towards 
him, in order to procure being; but the destroying and 
corruptive part hath its motion from him, in order to pro- 
cure not-being. For which reason they call the former 
part Isis, from gomg (I'eaOai) and being borne-along with 
knowledge, she being a kind of a living and prudent mo- 
tion. For her name is not of a barbarous original ; but, 
as all the Gods have one name (Oeog) in common, and that 
is derived from the two words, dscov (running) and dsatog 
(visible) ; so also this very Goddess is both from motion 
and science at once called Isis by us and Isis also by the 
Egyptians. So likewise Plato tells us, that the ancients 
called omia (being) ma (knowledge), as also that votiaig (intel- 
ligence) and QpQ6vj]atg(2)rudence) had their names given them 
for being a cpoQu (agitation) and motion of vovg (rnind), which 
was then, as it were, U'lievog and cpsQOfjisvog (set in motion and 
borne-along) ; and the like he affirmeth of awisvai (to under- 
stand), that it was as much as to say " to be in commotion."* 
Nay he saith, moreover, that they attribute the very names 
of dyadov (good) and aQSTrj (virtue) to the ideas of running 
(dm) and of ever-flowing {del QS(o)f which they imply; as like- 
wise, on the other hand again, they used terms opposite to 
motion by way of reproach ; for they called w^hat clogged, 
tied up, locked up, and confined nature from agitation and 
motion naxia (baseness or ill motion), dnoQia (difficulty or dif- 
ficult motion), dsdU (fearfulness or fearful motion) and dvlu 
(sorrow or want of motion). 

61. But Osiris had his name from oaiog and IsQog (pious 
and sacred) compounded ; for he is the common idea of 
things in heaven and things in the lower world, the former 

* Most of the absurd etymologies proposed in tliis chapter are actually to be 
found in Plato's Cratylus, from p. 401 C to p. 415 E. (G.) 

t The usual emendation for evpovai (wliich the MSS. give) is eppoovm. But Plato 
(Crat. 415 I)) derives aper^ from rd uaxeru^ koX rb ukcjXvtuc aei /^eov, from which he 
supposes a form ueipeiTij to cotne, afterwards contracted into apeTr/. I have therefore 
»dopteii the reading Id ()tovaL, and translated accordingly. (G.) 



of which the ancients thought fit to style tsQa, and the latter 
oaia. But the principle which discloses things heavenly, 
and which appertains to things whose motion tends up- 
wards (aVca),is called Anubis, and sometimes he is also named 
Hermanubis, the former name referring to things above, 
and the latter to things beneath. For which reason they 
also sacrifice to him two cocks, the one whereof is white 
and the other of a saffron color, as esteeming the things 
above tc be entire and clear, and the things beneath to be 
mixed and various. Nor need any one to wonder at the 
formation of these words from the Grecian tongue ; for 
there are many thousand more of this kind, which, accom- 
panying those who at several times removed out of Greece, 
do to this very day sojourn and remain among foreigners ; 
some whereof when poetry would bring back into use, it 
hath been falsely accused of barbarism by those men, who 
love to call such words strange and outlandish. They say, 
moreover, that in the so-called books of Hermes there is 
an account given of the sacred names ; and that power 
which presides over the circulation of the sun is called 
Horus, and by the Greeks Apollo ; and that which is over 
the winds is by some called Osiris, and by others Serapis, 
and by others again in the Egyptian tongue Sothi. Now 
the word Sothi signifies in Greek to breed (aveiv) and breed- 
ing ; and therefore, by an obliquation of the word -^vsiv, the 
star which they account proper to the Goddess Isis is called 
in Greek xuwr, which is as well dog as breeder. And al- 
though it be but a fond thing to be over contentious about 
words, yet I had rather yield to the Egyptians the name of 
Serapis than that of Osiris, since I account the former to 
be foreign, and the latter to be Greekish, but believe both 
to appertain to one God and to one power^ 

62. And the Egyptian theology seems to favor this opin- 
ion. For they oftentimes call Isis by the name of Miner- 
va^ which in their language expresseth this sentence, " I 


came from myself," and is significative of a motion proceed- 
ing from herself But Typhon is called (as hath been said 
before) Seth, Bebon, and Smu, which names would insinu- 
ate a kind of a forcible restraint, and an opposition or 
subversion. Moreover, they call the loadstone Horus's 
bone, and iron Typhon's bone, as Manetho relates. For as 
iron is oftentimes like a thing that is drawn to and follows 
the loadstone, and oftentimes again flies off and recoils to 
the opposite part; so the salutary, good, and intelligent 
motion of the universe doth, as by a gentle persuasion, in- 
vert, reduce, and make softer the rugged and Typhonian 
one ; and when again it is restrained and forced back, it 
returns into itself, and sinks into its former interminate- 
ness. Eudoxus also saith that the Egyptian fable of Jupi- 
ter is this, that being once unable to go because his legs 
grew together, he for very shame spent all his time in the 
wilderness ; but that Isis dividing and separating these 
parts of his body, he came to have the right use of his 
feet. This fable also hints to us by these words, that the 
intelligence and reason of the God, which walked before in 
the unseen and inconspicuous state, came into generation 
by means of motion. 

63. The sistrum likewise (or rattle) doth intimate unto 
us, that all things ought to be agitated and shook {aeisaOai), 
and not to be sufl'ered to rest from their motion, but be as it 
were roused up and awakened when they begin to grow 
drowsy and to droop. For they tell us that the sistrum 
averts and frights away Typhon, insinuating hereby that, 
as corruption locks up and fixes Nature's course, so gener- 
ation again resolves and excites it by means of motion. 
Moreover, as the sistrum hath its upper part convex, so its 
circumference contains the four things that are shaken ; 
for that part of the world also which is liable to genera- 
tion and corruption is contained by the sphere of the moon, 
but all things are moved and changed in it by means of 


the four elements, tire, earth, water, and air. And upon 
the upper part of the circumference of the sistrum, on the 
outside, they set the effigies of a cat carved with a human 
face ; and again, on the under part, below the four jingling 
things, they set on one side the face of Isis, and on the 
other the face of Nephlhys ; symbolically representing 
by these two faces generation and death (for these are 
changes and alterations of the elements), and by the cdt 
representing the moon, because of the different colors, the 
night-motion and the great fecundity of this animal. For 
they say that she brings forth first one, then two, and 
three, and four, and five, and so adds one until she comes 
to seven ; so that she brings eight and twenty in all, which 
are as many as there are days in each moon ; but this 
looks more like a romance. This is certain, that the pu- 
pils of her eyes are observed to fill up and grow large upon 
the full of the moon, and again, to grow less upon its de 
crease. And the human face of the cat shows how the 
changes of the moon are governed by mind and reason. 

64. To sum up all then in one word, it is not reasonable 
to believe that either the water or the sun or the earth or 
the heaven is Osiris or Isis ; nor, again, that the fire or the 
drought or the sea is Typhon ; but if we simply ascribe to 
Typhon whatever in all these is through excesses or defects 
intemperate or disorderly, and if on the other hand we rev- 
erence and honor what in them all is orderly, good, and 
beneficial, esteeming them the operations of Isis, and as 
the image, imitation, and discourse of Osiris, we shall not 
err. And we shall besides take off the incredulity of 
Eudoxus, who makes a great question how it comes to 
pass that neither Ceres hath any part in the care of love 
affairs (but only Isis), nor Bacchus 'any power either to 
increase the Nile or to preside over the dead. For we 
hold that these Gods are set over the whole share of good 
in common, and that whatever is either good or amiable 


in Nature is all owing to these, the one yielding the prin- 
ciples, and the other receiving and dispensing them. 

65. By this means we shall be able to deal w^ith the 
vulgar and more importunate sort also, whether their fancy 
be to accommodate the things that refer to these Gods to 
those changes which happen to the ambient air at the sev- 
eral seasons of the year, or to production of fruit and to 
the times of sowing and earing, affirming that Osiris is 
then buried when the sown corn is covered over by the 
earth, and that he revives again and re-appears when it be- 
gins to sprout. Which they say is the reason that Isis is 
reported, upon her finding herself to be with child, to have 
hung a certain amulet or charm about her upon the sixth 
day of the month Phaophi, and to have been delivered of 
Harpocrates about the winter solstice, he being in the 
first shootings and sprouts very imperfect and tender. And 
this is the reason (say they) that, when the lentils begin to 
spring up, they offer him their tops for first-fruits. They 
also observe the festival of her child-birth after the vernal 
equinox. For they that hear these things are much taken 
.with them and readily give assent to them, and presently 
infer their credibility from the obviousness and familiarness 
of the matter. 

66. Nor would this be any great harm either, would 
they save us these Gods in common, and not make them 
to be peculiar to the Egyptians, nor confine these names to 
the river Nile, and only to that one piece of ground which 
the river Nile waters ; nor affirm their fens and their lo- 
tuses to be the subject of this mythology, and so deprive 
the rest of mankind of great and mighty Gods, who have 
neither a Nile nor a Buto nor a Memphis. As for Isis, all 
mankind have her, and are well acquainted with her and 
the other Gods about her ; and although they had not an- 
ciently learned to call some of them by their Egyptian 
names, yet they from the very first both knew and honored 
the power which belongs to every one of them. In the 


second place, what is yet of greater consequence is, that 
they take a mighty care and fear lest, before they are 
aware, they change and dissolve the divine beings into blasts 
of winds, streams of water, sowings of corn, earings of 
land, accidents of the earth, and changes of seasons ; as 
those who make Bacchus to be wine and Vulcan to be 
flame. Cleanthes also somewhere saith that Proserpine (or 
Persephone) is the breath of air which is carried ((p^Qoiisvov) 
through the corn and then dies ((povivofisvov) ; and again, a 
certain poet saith of reapers, 

Then when the youth the legs of Ceres cut. 

For these men seem to me to be nothing wiser than such 
as would take the sails, the cables, and the anchor of a 
ship for the pilot ; the yarn and the web for the weaver ; 
and the bowl or the mead or the ptisan for the doctor. 
And they over and above produce in men most dangerous 
and atheistical opinions, while they give the names of Gods 
to those natures and things that have in them neither soul 
nor sense, and that are necessarily destroyed by men who 
need them and use them. 

67. No man can imagine these things can be Gods in 
themselves. And therefore nothing can be a God to men 
that is either without soul or under their power. But yet 
by means of these things we come to think them Gods that 
use them themselves and bestow them upon us, and that 
render them perpetual and continual. And those are not 
some in one country and others in another, nor some Gre- 
cians and others barbarians, nor some southern and others 
northern ; but as the sun, moon, land, and sea are common 
to all men, bat yet have different names in different nations, 
so that one discourse that orders these things, and that one 
forecast that administers them, and those subordinate 
powers that are set over every nation in particular, have 
assigned them by the laws of several countries several 
kinds of honors and appellations. And those that have 


been consecrated to their service make use, some of tliem 
of darker, and others again of clearer symbols, thereby 
guiding the understanding to the knowledge of things di- 
vine, not without much danger and hazard. For some not 
being able to reach their true meaning, have slid into down- 
right superstition ; and others again, while they would flj_ 
tbe quagmire of superstition, have fallen unwittingly upon 
the precipice of atheism. 

68. And for this reason we should here make most use 
of the reasonings from philosophy, which introduce us 
into the knowledge of things sacred, that so we may think 
piously of whatever is said or acted in religion ; lest — as 
Theodorus once said that, as he reached forth his discourses 
in his right hand, some of his auditors received them in 
their left — so what things the laws have wisely constituted 
about the sacrifices and festivals we should take otherwise 
than as they are meant, and thereby fall into most danger- 
ous errors and mistakes. That therefore we are to con- 
strue all these things by reference to reason, we may easily 
perceive by the Egyptians themselves. For upon the nine- 
teenth day of the first month they keep a solemn festival 
to Hermes, wherein they eat honey and figs, and withal 
say these words, " Truth is a sweet thing." And that am- 
ulet or charm which they fable Isis to hang about her is, 
when interpreted into our language, " A true voice." Nor 
are we to understand Harpocrates to be either some imper- 
fect or infant God, or a God of pulse (as some will have 
him), but to be the governor and reducer of the tender, 
imperfect, and inarticulate discourse which men have ubout 
the Gods. For which reason, he hath always his finger 
upon his mouth, as a symbol of talking little and keeping 
silence. Likewise, upon the month of Mesore, they pre- 
sent him with certain pulse, and pronounce these words : 
" The tongue is Fortune, the tongue is God." And of all 
the plants that Egypt produces, thev say the Persea is the 


most sacred to the Goddess, because its fruit resembles 
the heart, and its leaf the tongue. For there is nothing 
that man possesses that is either more divine, or that hath 
a greater tendency upon happiness, than discourse, and 
especially that which relates to the Gods. For which rea- 
son they lay a strict charge upon such as go down to the 
oracle there, to have pious thoughts in their hearts and 
words of good omen in their mouths. But the greater 
part act ludicrous things in their processions and festivals, 
first proclaiming good expressions, and then both speak- 
ing and thinking words of most wicked and lewd mean- 
ing, and that even of the Gods themselves. 

69. How then must we manage ourselves at these tet- 
rical, morose, and mournful sacrifices, if we are neither to 
omit what the laws prescribe us, nor yet to confound and 
distract our thoughts about the Gods with vain and un- 
couth surmises ] There are among the Greeks also many 
things done that are like to those which the Egyptians do 
at their solemnities, and much about the same time too. 
For at the Thesmophoria at Athens the women fast sitting 
upon the bare ground. The Boeotians also remove the 
shrines of Achaea (or Ceres), terming that day the afflic- 
tive holiday, because Ceres was then in great affliction for 
her daughter's descent into hell. Now upon this month, 
about the rising of the Pleiades, is the sowing time ; and 
the Egyptians call it Athyr, the Athenians Pyanepsion ; 
and the Boeotians Damatrios (or the month of Ceres), 
Moreover Theopompus relates, that those that live tow- 
ards the sun-setting (or the Hesperii) believe the winter to 
be Saturn, the summer Venus, and the spring time Proser- 
pine ; and that they call them by those names, and main- 
tain all to be produced by Saturn and Venus. But the 
Phrygians, being of opinion that the Deity sleeps in the 
winter and wakes in the summer, do, in the manner of 
ecstatics. in the winter time sing lullabies in honor of his 


sleeping, and in the summer time certain rousing carols 
in honor of his waking. In like manner the Paphlago- 
nians say, he is bound and imprisoned in the winter, and 
walks abroad again in the spring and is at liberty. 

70. And the nature of the season gives us suspicion 
that this tetrical sort of service was occasioned by the 
absenting of the several sorts of fruits at that time of the 
year ; which yet the ancients did not believe to be Gods, 
but such gifts of the Gods as were both great and neces- 
sary in order to preserve them from a savage and bestial 
life. And at what time they saw both the fruits that came 
from trees wholly to disappear and fail, and those also 
which themselves had sown to be yet but starved and poor, 
they taking up fresh mould in their hands and laying it 
about their roots, and committing them a second time to 
the ground with uncertain hopes of their ever coming to 
perfection or arriving to maturity, did herein many things 
that might well resemble people at funerals and mourning 
for the dead. Moreover, as we use to say of one that hath 
bought the books of Plato, that he hath bought Plato, and 
of one that hath taken upon him to act the compositions 
of Menander, that he hath acted Menander ; in like man- 
ner they did not stick to call the gifts and creatures of the 
Gods by the names of the Gods themselves, paying this 
honor and veneration to them for their necessary use. 
But those of after times receiving this practice unskilfully 
and ignorantly, applying the accidents of fruits, and the 
accesses and recesses of things necessary to human life, 
unto the Gods, did not only call them the generations and 
deaths of the Gods, but also believed them such, and so 
filled themselves with abundance of absurd, wicked, and 
distempered notions ; and this, although they had the ab- 
surdity of such a monstrous opinion before their very eyes. 
And therefore Xenophanes the Colophonian might not 
only put the Egyptians in mind, if they believed those 


they worshipped to be Gods, not to lament for them, 
if they lamented for them, not to believe them to be Gods ; 
but also that it would be extremely ridiculous at one and 
the same time to lament for the fruits of the earth, and to 
pray them to appear again and make themselves ripe, 
that so they may be over again consumed and lamented 

71. But now this in its true intention is no such thing. 
But they make their lamentation for the fruits ; and their 
prayers to the Gods, who are the authors and bestowers 
of those fruits, that they would be pleased to produce and 
bring up again other new ones in the place of them that 
are gone. Wherefore it is an excellent saying among 
philosophers, that they that have not learned the true 
sense of words wdll mistake also in the things ; as we see 
those among the Greeks who have not learned nor accus- 
tomed themselves to call the brazen and stone statues and 
the painted representations of the Gods their images or 
their honors, but the Gods themselves, are so adventurous 
as to say that Lachares stripped Minerva, that Dionysius " 
cropped off Apollo's golden locks, and that Jupiter Capi- 
tolinus was burned and destroyed in the civil wars of 
Eome. They therefore, before they are aware, suck in  
and receive bad opinions with these improper words. And 
the Egyptians are not the least guilty herein, with respect 
to the animals which they worship. For the Grecians 
both speak and think aright in these matters, when they  
tell us that the pigeon is sacred to Venus, the serpent to 
Minerva, the raven to Apollo, and the_dog to Diana, as 
Euripides somewhere speaks : 

Into a bitch transformed you shall be, 
And be the image of bright Hecate. 

But the greater part of the Egyptians worshipping the 
very animals themselves, and courting them as Gods, have 
not only filled their religious worship with matter of scorn 


and derision (for that would be the least harm that could 
come of their blockish ignorance); but a dire conception 
also arises therefrom, which blows up the feeble and simple 
minded into an extravagance of superstition, and when it 
lights upon the more subtle and daring tempers, outrages 
them into atheistical and brutish cogitations. Wherefore 
it seems not inconsonant here to recount what is probable 
upon this subject. 

72. For that the Gods, being afraid of Typhon, changed 
themselves into these animals, and did as it were hide 
themselves in the bodies of ibises, dogs, and hawks, is a 
foolery beyond all prodigiousness and legend. And that 
such souls of men departed this life as remain undissolved 
after death have leave to be reborn into this life by these 
bodies only, is equally incredible. And of those who 
would assign some political reason for these things, there 
are some that affirm that Osiris in his great army, dividing 
his forces into many parts (which we in Greek call Uioi 
and xa^ug), at the same time gave every of them certain 
ensigns or colors with the shapes of several animals upon 
them, which in process of time came to be looked upon as 
sacred, and to be worshipped by the several kindred and 
clans in that distribution. Others say again, that the kings 
of after times did, for the greater terror of their enemies, 
wear about them in their battles the golden and silver 
heads and upper parts of fierce animals. But there are 
others that relate that one of these subtle and crafty 
princes, observing the Egyptians to be of a light and vain 
disposition and very inclinable to change and innovation, 
and withal, when sober and unanimous, of an inexpug- 
nable and irrestrainable strength by reason of their mighty 
numbers, therefore taught them, in their several quarters, 
a perpetual kind of superstition, to be the ground of end- 
less quarrels and disputes among them. For the various 
animals which he commanded different cities to observe 


and reverence being at enmity and war with one another, 
and desiring one another for food, each party among them 
being upon the perpetual defence of their proper animals, 
and highly resenting the wrongs that were offered them, 
it happened that, being thus drawn into the quarrels of 
their beasts, they were, before they were aware, engaged 
in hostilities with one another. For at this very day, the 
Lycopolitans (or Wolf-town-men) are the only people among 
the Egyptians that eat the sheep, because the wolf, which 
they es^em to be a God, doth so too. And in our own 
times, the Oxyrynchites (or those of Pike-town), because 
the Cynopolitans (or those of Dog-town) did eat a pike, 
catched the dogs and slew them, and ate of them as they , 
would do of a sacrifice ; and there arising a civil war upon 
it, in which they did much mischief to one another, they 
were all at last chastised by the Romans. 

73. And whereas there are many that say that the soul 
of Typhon himself took its flight into these animals, this 
tale may be looked upon to signify that every irrational and 
brutal nature appertains to the share of the evil Daemon. 
And therefore, when they would pacify him and speak him 
fair, they make their court and addresses to these animals. 
But if there chance to happen a great and excessive 
drought which, above what is ordinary at other times, 
brings along with it either wasting diseases or other 
monstrous and prodigious calamities, the priests then con- 
duct into a dark place, with great silence and stillness, 
some of the animals which are honored by them ; and they 
first of all menace and terrify them, and if the mischief 
still continues, they then consecrate and ofl'er them up, 
looking upon this as a way of punishing the evil God, or 
at least as some grand purgation in time of greatest disas- 
ters. For, as Manetho relateth, they were used in ancient 
times to burn live men in the city of Ilithyia, entitling them 
Typhonian ; and then they made wind, and dispersed and 


scattered their ashes into the air. And this was done 
pubUcly, and at one only season of the year, which was 
the dog-days. But those consecrations of the animals 
worshipped by them which are made in secret, and at 
irregular and uncertain times of the year as occasions re- 
quire, are wholly unknown to the vulgar sort, except only 
at the time of their burials, at which they produce certain 
other animals, and in the presence of all spectators throw 
them into the grave with them, thinking by this means to 
vex Typhon and to abate the satisfaction he received by 
their deaths. For it is the Apis, with a few more, that is 
thought sacred to Osiris ; but the far greater part are as- 
signed to Typhoi^ And if this account of theirs be true, 
I believe it explains the subject of our enquiry as to such 
animals as are universally received and have their honors 
in common amongst them all; and of this kind is the ibis, 
the hawk, the cynocephalos, and the Apis himself; . . . 
for so they call the goat which is kept at Mendes. 

74. It remains yet behind, that 1 treat of their bene- 
ficialness to man, and of their symbolical use ; and some 
of them participate of some one of these, and others of 
both. It is most manifest therefore that they worship the 
ox, the sheep, and the ichneumon for their benefit and 
use ; as the Lemniotes did the lark, for finding out the 
locusts' eggs and breaking them, and the Thessalians the 
storks, because that, as their soil bred abundance of ser- 
pents, they at their appearance destroyed them all, for 
which reason they enacted a law that whoever killed a 
stork should be banished the country. Moreover the 
Egyptians honored the asp, the weasel, and the beetle, 
observing in them certain dark resemblances of the power 
of the Gods, like those of the sun in drops of water. For 
there are many that to this day believe that the weasel 
engenders by the ear, and brings forth by the mouth, and 
is therein a resemblance of the production of speech ; and 


that the beetle kind also hath no female, but that the males 
cast out their sperm into a round pellet of earth, which 
they roll about by thrusting it backwards with their hinder 
feet, — and this in imitation of the sun, which, while itself 
moves from west to east, turns the heaven the contrary 
way. They also compared the asp to a star, for being 
always young, and for performing its motions with great 
ease and glibness, and that without the help of organs. 

75. Nor had the croc odile his honor given him without 
a show of probable reason for it ; but it is reported to 
have been produced by a representation of God, it being 
the only animal that is without tongue. For the divine 
discourse hath no need of voice, but *' marching by still 
and silent ways, it guides mortal affairs by equal justice."* 
Besides, they say he is the only animal that lives in water 
that hath his eye-sight covered over with a thin and trans- 
parent film, descending down from his forehead, so that he 
sees without being seen himself by others, in which he 
agrees with the first God. Moreover, in what place soever 
in the country the female crocodile lays her eggs, that may 
be certainly concluded to be the utmost extent of the rise 
of the river Nile for that year. For not being able to lay 
in the water, and being afraid to lay far from it, they have flj 
so exact a knowledge of futurity, that though they enjoy 
the benefit of the approiiching stream at their laying and 
hatching, they yet preserve their eggs dry and untouched 
by the water. And they lay sixty in all, and are just as 
many days a hatching them, and the longest lived of them 
live as many years ; that being the first measure which 
those that are employed about the heavens make use of. 
But of those animals that were honored for both reasons, 
we have already treated of the dog ; but now the ibis, 
besides that he killeth all deadly and poisonous vermin, 
was also the first that taught men the evacuation of the 

* Euripides, Troad. 887. 



belly by clysters, she being observed to be after this man- 
ner washed and purged by herself. Those also of the 
priests that are the strictest observers of their sacred rites, 
when they consecrate water for lustration, use to fetch it 
from some place where the ibis has been drinking ; for she 
will neither taste nor come near any unwholesome or in- 
fectious water. Besides, with her two legs standing at 
large and her bill, she maketh an equilateral triangle ; and 
the speckledness and mixture of her feathers, where there 
are black ones about the white, signify the gibbousness of 
the moon on either side. 

76. Nor ought we to think it strange that the Egyptians 
should affect such poor and slender comparisons, when we 
find the Grecians themselves, both in their pictures and 
statues, make use of many such resemblances of the Gods 
as these are. For example, there was in Crete an image 
of Jupiter having no ears, for he that is commander and 
chief over all should hear no one. Phidias also set a ser- 
pent by the image of Minerva, and a tortoise by that of 
Venus at Elis, to show that maids needed a guard upon 
them, and that silence and keeping at home became mar- 
ried women. In like manner the trident of Neptune is a 
symbol of the third region of the world, which the sea 
possesses, situated below that of the heaven and air. For 
which reason they also gave their names to Amphitrite and 
the Tritons. The Pythagoreans also honored numbers and 
geometric figures with the names of Gods. For they called 
an equihiteral triangle Minerva Coryphagenes (or croion- 
horn) and Tritogeneia, because it is equally divided by per- 
pendiculars drawn from the three angles. They likewise 
called the unit Apollo ; the number two, contention and ali^o 
audaciousness ; and the number three, justice ; for, wronging 
and being wronged being two extremes caused by deficien- 
cy and excess, justice came by equality in the middle. 
But that which is called the sacred quaternion, being the 


number thirty-six, was (according to common fame) 
greatest oath among them, and was called by them the world, 
because it is made up of the first four even numbers and 
the first four odd numbers summed up together. 

77. If therefore the most approved of the philosophers 
did not think meet to pass over or disesteem any signifi- 
cant symbol of the Divinity which they observed even in 
things that had neither soul nor body, I believe they re- 
garded yet more those properties of government and con- 
duct which they saw in such natures as had sense, and 
were endued with soul, with passion, and with moral tem- 
per. We are not therefore to content ourselves with wor- 
shipping these things, but we must worship God through 
them, — as being the more clear mirrors of him, and pro- 
duced by Nature, — so as ever worthily to conceive of them 
as the instruments or artifices of that God which orders 
all things. And it is reasonable to believe that no inani- 
mate being can be more excellent than an animate one, nor 
an insensible than a sensible ; no, though one should heap«| 
together all the gold and emeralds in the universe. For^ 
the property of the Divinity consists not in fine colors, 
shapes, and slicknesses ; but, on the contrary, those natures 
are of a rank below the very dead, that neither did nor 
ever can partake of life. But now that Nature which hath 
life and sees, and which hath the source of her motion 
from her own self, as also the knowledge of things proper 
and alien to her, hath certainly derived an efflux and a 
portion of that prudence which (as Heraclitus speaks) i 
considers how the whole universe is governed. Therefore 1 
the Deity is no worse represented in these animals, than in 
the workmanships of copper and stone, which suff*er cor- 
ruptions and decays as well as they, and are besides natu- 
rally void of sense and perception. This then is what I 
esteem the best account that is given of their adoration of 


78. As to the sacred vestments, that of Isis is party- 
colored and of different hues ; for her power is about mat- 
ter, which becomes every thing and receives every thing, 
as light and darkness, day and night, fire and water, life 
and death, beginning and ending. But that of Osiris has 
no shade, no variety of colors, but one only simple one, 
resembling light. For the first principle is un tempered, 
and that which is first and of an intelligible nature is 
unmixed ; which is the reason why, after they have once 
made use of this garment, they lay it up and keep it close, 
invisible and not to be touched. But those of Isis are 
used often. For sensible things, when they are of daily 
use and familiar to us, afford us many opportunities to dis- 
play them and to see them in their various mutations ; but 
the apprehension of Avhat is intelligible, sincere, and holy, 
darting through the soul like a flash of lightning, attends 
but to some one single glance or glimpse of its object. 
For which reason both Plato and Aristotle call this part 
of philosophy by the name of the epoptic or mysterious 
part, intimating that those who by help of reason have got 
beyond these fanciful, mixed, and various things mount up 
to that first, simple, and immaterial being ; and when they 
have certainly reached the pure truth about it, they believe 
they have at last attained to complete philosophy. 

79. And that which the present priests do darkly hint 
out and insinuate to us, though with much obscurity, great 
shyness, and precaution, — that this God is the governor 
and prince of those that are dead, and that he is no other 
than he who is called by the Greeks Hades and Pluto, — 
being not taken in its true sense, disturbs the minds of the 
greater part, while they suspect that the truly holy and 
good God Osiris lives within and beneath the earth, where 
the bodies of those who are supposed to have an end lie 
hid and buried. But he himself is at the remotest distance 
from the earth imaginable, being unstained and unpolluted, 


and clean from every substance that is liable to corruption 
and death. But men's souls encompassed here with bod- 
ies and passions, have no communication with God, ex- 
cept what they can reach to in conception only, by means 
of philosophy, as by a kind of an obscure dream. But 
when they are loosed from the body, and removed into the 
unseen, invisible, impassible, and pure region, this God is 
then their leader and king ; they there as it were hanging 
on him wholly, and beholding without weariness and pas- 
sionately affecting that beauty which cannot be expressed 
or uttered by men. This the Goddess Isis is always ca- 
ressing, affecting, and enjoying, according to the old tales, 
and by that means she fills this lower world with all those 
goodly and excellent things which partake of generation. 

80. This then is that account of these things which 
best suits the nature of the Gods. And if I now must, 
according to my promise, say something concerning those 
things they daily offer by way of incense, you are in the 
first place to understand this, that these people make the 
greatest account imaginable of all endeavors that relate to 
health ; and more especially in their sacrifices, purgations, 
and diets, health is no less respected than devotion. For 
\,. they think it would be an unseemly thing to wait upon 
^xthat nature that is pure and every way unblemished and 
untouched, with crazy and diseased minds or bodies. 
Whereas, therefore, the air that we most use and live in 
hath not always the same disposition and temperament, 
but in the night-time grows condense, compresses the body, 
and contracts the mind into a kind of melancholy and 
thoughtful habit, it becoming then as it were foggy and 
dozed, they therefore, as soon as they are up in the morn- 
ing, burn rosin about them, refreshing and clearing the air 
by its scattered particles, and fanning up the native spirit 
of the body, which is now grown languid and dull ; this 
sort of scent having something in it -that is very impetuous 


and striking. And perceiving again at noon-time that the 
sun hath drawn up by violence a copious and gross ex- 
halation out of the earth, they by censing mix myrrh also 
with the air ; for heat dissolves and dissipates that puddled 
and slimy vapor which at that time gathers together in 
the ambient air. And physicians are also found to help 
pestilential diseases by making great blazes to rarefy the 
air ; but it would be much better rarefied, if they would 
burn sweet-scented woods, such as cypress, juniper, and 
pine. And therefore Acron the physician is said to have 
gained a mighty reputation at Athens, in the time of the 
great plague, by ordering people to make fires near to the 
sick ; for not a few were benefited by it. Aristotle like- 
wise saith that the odoriferous exhalations of perfumes, 
flowers, and sweet meadows are no less conducing to health 
than to pleasure; for that their warmth and delicacy of 
motion gently relax the brain, Avhich is of its own nature 
cold and clammy. And if it be true that the Egyptians in 
their language call myrrh bal, and that the most proper 
signification of that word is scattering away idle talk^ this 
also adds some testimony to our account of the reason why 
they burn it. 

81. Moreover, that they call Kyphi is a kind of a com- 
position made up of sixteen ingredients, that is, of honey, 
wine, raisins, cyperus, rosin, myrrh, aspalathus, seseli, mas- 
tich, bitumen, nightshade, and dock ; to which they add 
the berries of both the junipers (the one whereof they 
call the greater, and the other the lesser sort), as also cala- 
mus and cardamom. Neither do they put them together 
slightly or at a random rate ; but the sacred books are 
read to the perfumers all the while they are compounding 
them. As for the number of the ingredients (sixteen), 
— although it may appear important, being the square of 
a square, and making the only square Surface which has a 
periphery equal to its area, — yet I must needs say that 


this contributes but very little here. But it is the con- 
tained species (most of which are of aromatic properties) 
that send up a sweet fume and an agreeable exhalation, by 
which the air is changed ; and the body, being moved by 
the breath, sinks into a calm and gentle sleep, and retains 
a temperament conducive to sleep ; and without the dis- 
orders of drunkenness, as it were, it loosens and unties, 
like a sort of knots, the doziness and intenseness of the 
thoughts by day-time ; and the fantastic part and that | 
which is receptive of dreams it wipes like a mirror and 
renders clearer, with no less efficacy than those strokes of 
the harp which the Pythagoreans made use of before they 
went to sleep, to charui and allay the distempered and 
irrational part of the soul. For we find that strong scents 
many times call back the failing sense, but sometimes dull 
and obstruct it, their wasted parts diffusing themselves by 
their great fineness and subtilty through the whole body ; 
like as some physicians tell us that sleep is produced when 
the fumes of meat, by creeping gently about the inwards, 
and as it were groping every part, cause a certain soft 

They also use this Kyphi both for a drink and for a 
medicinal potion; for when drunk it is found to cleanse 
the inwards, it being a loosener of the belly. Besides all 
this, rosin is the creature of the sun, and they gather 
myrrh as the trees weep it out by moonlight ; but now of 
those ingredients that make up Kyphi, there are some that 
delight more in the night, as those whose nature it is to be 
nourished by cool blasts, shades, dews, and humidities. 
Eor the light of day is one thing and simple ; and Pindar 
saith, the sun is then seen 

Through solitary air.* 

But the air of night is a kind of composition ; for it is 
made up of many lights and powers, which, like so many 

» Pindar, Olymp. I. 10. 


several seeds, flow down from every star into one place. 
They therefore very pertinently cense the former things by 
daytime, as being simples and deriving their original from 
the sun ; and the latter at the entrance of the night, they 
being mixed and of many and difierent qualities. 




1. These and such like things, O Quintus ! when Epi- 
curus had spoken, before any person could return an 
answer, while we were busy at the farther end of the por- 
tico,* he flung away in great haste. However, we could 
not but in some measure admire at the odd behavior of the 
man, though without taking any farther notice of it in 
words ; and therefore, after we had gazed a while one upon 
another, we returned to walk as we were singled out in com- 
pany before. At this time Patrocleas first breaking silence, 
How say ye, gentlemen ] said he : if you think fitting, why 
may not we discuss this question of the last proposer as 
^vel\ in his absence as if he were present ] To whom 
Timon replying. Surely, said he, it would but ill become 
us, if at us he aimed upon his departure, to neglect the 
arrow sticking in our sides. For Brasidas, as history re- 
ports, drawing forth the javelin out of his own body, with 
the "Same javelin not only wounded him that threw it, but 
slew him outright. But as for ourselves, we surely have no 
need to revenge ourselves on them that pelt us with absurd 
and fallacious reasonings ; but it will be sufficient that we 
shake them off before our opinion has taken hold of them. 
Then, said I, which of his sayings is it that has given you 
the greatest cause to be moved? For the man dragged 
into his discourse many things confusedly, and nothing in 

 The scene of the dialogue is laid in the temple of Delphi. (G.) 


order ; but gleaning up and down from this and the other 
place, as it were in the transports of his wrath and scur- 
rility, he then poured the whole in one torrent of abuse 
upon the providence of God. 

2. To which' Patrocleas : The slowness of the Supreme 
Deity and his procrastination in reference to the punish- 
rhent of the wicked have long perplexed my thoughts ; but 
now, puzzled by these arguments which he produces, I 
find myself as it were a stranger to the opinion, and newly 
beginning again to learn. For a long time I could not with 
patience hear that expression of Euripides, 

Does he delay and slowly move ; 
*Tis but the nature of the Gods above.* 

For indeed it becomes not the Supreme Deity to be remiss 
in any thing, but more especially in the prosecution of the 
wicked, since they themselves are no way negligent or 
dilatory in doing mischief, but are always driven on by the 
most rapid impetuosities of their passions to acts of injus- 
tice. For certainly, according to the saying of Thucydides, 
that revenge which foUow^s injury closest at the heels pres- 
ently puts a stop to the progress of such as make advantage 
of successful wickedness. f Therefore there is no debt 
with so much prejudice put off, as that of justice. For it 
weakens the hopes of the person wronged and renders him 
comfortless and pensive, but heightens the boldness and 
daring insolence of the oppressor ; whereas, on the other 
side, those punishments and chastisements that immediately 
withstand presuming violence not only restrain the com- 
mitting of future outrages, but more especially bring along 
with them a particular comfort and satisfaction to the suf- 
ferers. Which makes me no less troubled at the saying 
of Bias, which frequently comes into my mind. For thus 
he spake once to a notorious reprobate: It is not that I 
doubt thou wilt suffer the just reward of thy wickedness, 

* Eurip. Orestes, 420. t See the speech of Cleon, Time. III. 88. 


but I fear that I myself shall not live to see it. For what 
did the punishment of Aristocrates avail the Messenians 
who were killed before it came to pass ? He, having be- 
trayed them at the battle of Taphrus yet remained unde- 
tected for above twenty years together, and all that while 
reigned king of the Arcadians, till at length, discovered and 
apprehended, he received the merited recompense of his 
treach(n7. But alas ! they whom he had betrayed were all 
dead at the same time. Or when the Orchomenians had 
lost their children, their friends, and familiar acquaintance 
through the treachery of Lyciscus, what consolation was it 
to them, that many years after a foul distemper seized the 
traitor, and fed upon his body till it had consumed his 
putrefied flesh] — who, as often as he dipped and bathed 
his feet in the river, with horrid oaths and execrations 
prayed that his members might rot if he had been guilty 
of treachery or any other villany. Nor was it possible 
even for the children's children of the Athenians who had 
been murdered long before, to behold the bodies of those 
sacrilegious caitiff's torn out of their graves and transported 
beyond the confines of their native soil. Whence, in my 
opinion, Euripides absurdly makes use of these expres- 
sions, to divert a man from wickedness : 

If thou fear'st heav'n, thou fearest it in vain ; 
Justice is not so hasty, foolish man, 
To pierce tliy lieart, or with contagious wound 
Or tliee or weaker mortals to confound ; 
But with slow pace and silent feet his doom 
O'ertakes the sinner, when his time is come. 

And I am apt to persuade myself that upon these and no 
other considerations it is, that wicked men encourage and 
give themselves the liberty to attempt and commit all man- 
ner of impieties, seeing that the fruit which injustice yields 
is soon ripe, and off"ers itself early to the gatherer's hand, 
whereas punishment comes late, and lagging long behind 
the pleasure of enjoyment. 


3. After Patrocleas had thus discoursed, Olympicus 
taking him up, There is this farther, said he, O Patrocleas! 
which thou shouldst have taken notice of; for how great 
an inconveniency and absurdity arises besides from these 
delays and procrastinations of divine justice ! For the 
slowness of its execution takes away the belief of provi- 
dence ; and the wicked, perceiving that calamity does not 
presently follow at the heels of every enormous crime, but 
a long time after, look upon their calamity as a misfortune, 
and calling it chance, not punishment, are nothing at all 
thereby reformed ; troubled indeed they well may be at the 
dire accident befallen them, but they never repent of the 
villanies they have committed. For as, in the case of 
the horse, the lashing and spurring that immediately pursue 
the transgression correct and reduce him to his duty, but 
all the tugging at the bit and shouting which are late and 
out of time seem to be inflicted for some other reason than 
to teach or instruct, the animal being thereby put to pain 
without understanding his error ; in like manner, were the 
impieties of enormous transgressors and heinous offenders 
singly scourged and repressed by immediate severity, it 
would be most likely* to bring them to a sense of their 
folly, humble them, and strike them with an awe of the 
Divine Being, whom they find with a watchful eye behold- 
ing the actions and passions of men, and feel to be no 
dilatory but a speedy avenger of iniquity ; whereas that 
remiss and slow-paced justice (as Euripides describes it) 
that falls upon the wicked by accident, by reason of its 
uncertainty, ill-timed delay, and disorderly motion, seems 
rather to resemble chance than providence. So that I 
cannot conceive what benefit there is in these millstones 
of the Gods which are said to grind so late,f as thereby 

• I follow Wyttenbach's emendation /luXiaT* dv for 'fwhc uv. (G.) 
t Referring to the verse, 'O^^ 9fwj/ uMovai fivXoi, uTieovai 6k Xenrra, (he iiUls of the 
Gods grind late, but they (jrindjine. (G.) 


celestial punishment is obscured, and the awe of evil doing 
rendered vain and despicable. 

4. These things thus uttered, while I was in a deep 
meditation of what he had said, Timon interposed. Is it 
your pleasure, said he, that I shall give the finishing stroke 
to the difficulties of this knotty question, or shall 1 first 
permit him to argue in opposition to what has been pro- 
pounded already ] Nay then, said I, to what purpose is it 
to let in a third wave to drown the argument, if one be 
not able to repel or avoid the objections already made ] 

To begin therefore, as from the Vestal hearth, from that 
ancient circumspection and reverence which our ancestors, 
being Academic philosophers also, bare to the Supreme 
Godhead, we shall utterly decline to speak of that myste- 
rious Being as if we could presume to utter positively any 
thing concerning it. For though it may be borne withal, 
for men unskilled in music to talk at random of notes and 
harmony, or for such as never experienced warfare to dis-' 
course of arms and military affairs ; yet it would be a bold 
and daring arrogance in us, that are but mortal men, to 
dive too far into the incomprehensible mysteries of Deities 
and Daemons, — just as if persons void of knowledge 
should undertake to judge of the methods and reason of 
cunning artists by slight opinions and probable conjectures 
of their own. And while one that understands nothing ot 
science finds it hard to give a reason why the physician did 
not let blood before but afterwards, or why he did not bathe 
his patient yesterday but to-day; it cannot be that it is safe 
or easy for a mortal to speak otherwise of the Supreme 
Deity than only this, that he alone it is who knows the 
most convenient time to apply most proper corrosives for 
the cure of sin and impiety, and to administer punishments 
as medicaments to every transgressor, yet being not con- 
fined to an equal quality and measure common to all dis- 
tempers, nor to one and the same time. Now that the 


medicine of the soul which is called justice is the most 
transcendent of all sciences, besides ten thousand other 
witnesses, even Pindar himself testifies, where he gives to 
God, the ruler and lord of all things, the title of the most 
perfect artificer, as being the grand author and distributer 
of Justice, to whom it properly belongs to determine at 
what time, in what manner, and to what degree to punish 
every particular offender. And Plato asserts that Minos, 
being the son of Jupiter, was the disciple of his father to 
learn this science ; intimating thereby that it is impossible 
for any other than a scholar, bred up in the school of equi- 
ty, rightly to behave himself in the administration of justice, 
or to make a true judgment of another whether he does 
well or no. For the laws which are constituted by men do 
not always prescribe that which is unquestionable and sim- 
ply decent, or of which the reason is altogether without 
exception perspicuous, in regard that some of their ordin- 
ances seem to be on purpose ridiculously contrived ; par- 
ticularly those which in Lacedaemon the Ephori ordain at 
their first entering into the magistracy, that no man suffer 
the hair of his upper lip to grow, and that they shall be 
obedient to the laws to the end they may not seem grievous 
to them. So the Komans, when they asserted the freedom 
of any one, cast a slender rod upon his body ; and when 
they make thek last wills and testaments, some they leave 
to be their heirs, while to others they sell their estates; 
which seems to be altogether contrary to reason. But that 
of Solon is most absurd, who, when a city is up in arms 
and all in sedition, brands with infamy the person who 
stands neuter and adheres to neither party. And thus a 
man that apprehends not the reason of the lawgiver, or the 
cause why such and such things are so prescribed, might 
number up several absurdities of many laws. What won- 
der then, since the actions of men are so difficult to be un- 
derstood, if it be no less difficult to determine concerning 

VOL. IV. 10 


the Gods, wherefore they inflict their punishments upon 
sinners, sometimes later, sometimes sooner. 

5. Nor do I allege these things as a pretence to avoid 
the dispute, but to secure the pardon which I beg, to the 
end that our discourse, having a regard (as it were) to some 
port or refuge, may proceed the more boldly in producing 
probable circumstances to clear the doubt. But first con- 
.sider this ; that God, according to Plato, when he set him- 
self before the eyes of the whole world as the exemplar of 
all that was good and holy, granted human virtue, by which 
man is in some measure rendered like himself, unto those 
that are able to follow the Deity by imitation. For uni- 
versal Nature, being at first void of order, received its first 
impulse to change and to be formed into a world, by being 
made to resemble and (as it were) partake of that idea and 
virtue which is in God. And the self-same Plato asserts, 
that Nature first kindled the sense of seeing within us, to 
the end that the soul, by the sight and admiration of the ' 
heavenly bodies, being accustomed to love and embrace 
decency and order, might be induced to hate the disorderly " 
motions of wild and raving passions, and avoid levity and 
rashness and dependence upon chance, as the original of 
all improbity and vice. For there is no greater benefit that M\ 
men can enjoy from God, than, by the imitation and pursuit 
of those perfections and that sanctity which is in him, to 
be excited to the study of virtue. Therefore God, with 
forbearance and at leisure, inflicts his punishment upon the 
wicked ; not that he is afraid of committing an error or of 
repenting should he accelerate his indignation ; but to 
eradicate that brutish and ea^er desire of revensre that 
reigns in human breasts, and to teach us that we are not 
in the heat of fury, or when our anger heaving and palpi- 
tating boils up above our understanding, to fall upon those 
who have done us an injury, like those who seek to gratify 
a vehement thirst or craving appetite, but that we should, 


in imitation of this mildness and forbearance, wait with 
due composure of mind before we proceed to chastisement 
or correction, till such sufficient time for consideration is 
taken as shall allow the least possible room for repentance. 
For, as Socrates observed, it is far the lesser mischief for a 
man distempered with ebriety and gluttony to drink puddle- 
water, than, when the mind is disturbed and over-charged 
with anger and fury, before it be settled and become limpid 
again, for a man to seek the satiating his revenge upon 
the body of his friend or kinsman. For it is not the re- 
venge which is the nearest to injury, as Thucydides says, 
but rather that which is the most remote from it, that ob- 
serves the most convenient opportunity. For as anger, 
according to that of Melanthius, 

Quite from the brain transplants the wit, 
Vile acts designing to commit ; 

so reason does that which is just and moderate, laying pas- 
sion and fury aside. Whence it comes to pass that men, 
giving ear to human examples, become more mansuete and 
gentle ; as when they hear how Plato, holding his cudgel 
over his page's shoulders, as himself relates, paused a good 
while, correcting his own anger ; and how in like manner 
Archytas, observing the sloth and wilful negligence of his 
servants in the field, and perceiving his passion to rise at a 
more than usual rate, did nothing at all; but as he went 
away, It is your good fortune, said he, that ye have angered 
me. If then the sayings of men when called to mind, and 
their actions being told, have such a power to mitigate the 
rougluiess and vehemency of wrath, much more becomes it 
us, beholding God, with whom there is neither dread nor 
repentance of any thing, deferring nevertheless his pun- 
ishments to future time and admitting delay, to be cautious 
and circumspect in these matters, and to deem as a divine 
part of virtue that mildness and long-suffering of which 
God affords us an example, while by punishing he reforms 


some few, but by slowly punishing he helpeth and admon- 
ish eth many. 

6. In the second place, therefore, let us consider this, 
that human punishments of injuries regard no more than 
that the party suffer in his turn, and are satisfied when 
the offender has suffered according to his merit ; and 
farther they never proceed. Which is the reason that 
they run after provocations, like dogs that bark in their 
fury, and immediately pursue the injury as soon as com- 
mitted. But probable it is that God, whatever distem- 
pered soul it be which he prosecutes with his divine justice, 
observes the motions and inclinations of it, whether they 
be such as tend to repentance, and allows time for the 
reformation of those whose wickedness is neither invin- 
cible nor incorrigible. For, since he well knows what a 
proportion of virtue souls carry along with them from him- 
self when they come into the world, and how strong and . 
vigorous their innate and primitive good yet continues, — 
while wickedness buds forth only preternaturally upon the 
corruption of bad diet and evil conversation, and even 
then some souls recover again to perfect cure or an indif- 
ferent habitude, — therefore he doth not make haste to 
inflict his punishments alike upon all. But those that are 
incurable he presently lops off and deprives of life, deem- 
ing it altogether hurtful to others, but most baneful to 
themselves, to be always wallowing in wickedness. But 
as for those who may probably be thought to transgress 
rather out of ignorance of what is virtuous and good, than 
through choice of what is foul and vicious, he grants them 
time to turn ; but if they remain obdurate, then likewise 
he inflicts his punishments upon them ; for he has no fear 
lest they should escape. 

Now let us consider how oft the characters and lives of 
men are changed ; for which reason, the character is called 
rqoTtog, as being the changeable part, and also liOoq, since cus- 


torn (edog) chiefly prevails in it and rules with the greatest 
power when it has seized upon it. Therefore I am of 
opinion, that the ancients reported Cecrops to have had 
two bodies, not, as some believe, because of a good king 
he became a merciless and dragon-like tyrant, but rather, 
on the contrary, for that being at first both cruel and 
formidable, afterwards he became a most mild and gentle 
prince. However, if this be uncertain, yet we know both 
Gelo and Hiero the Sicilians, and Pisistratus the son of 
Hippocrates, who, having obtained the sovereignty by vio- 
lence and wickedness, made a virtuous use of their power, 
and coming unjustly to the throne, became moderate rulers 
and beneficial to the public. For, by recommending whole- 
some laws and the exercise of useful tillage to their sub- 
jects, they reduced them from idle scoffers and talkative 
romancers to be modest citizens and industrious good hus- 
bands. And as for Gelo, after he had been successful in 
his war and vanquished the Carthaginians, he refused to 
grant them the peace which they sued for, unless they 
would consent to have it inserted in their articles that they 
would surcease from sacrificing their children to Saturn. 

Over Megalopolis Lydiadas was tyrant ; but then, even 
in the time of his tyranny, changing his manners and 
maxims of government and growing into a hatred of in- 
justice, he restored to the citizens their laws, and fighting 
for his country against his own and his subjects' enemies, 
fell an illustrious victim for his country's welfare. Now if 
any one, bearing an antipathy to ^liltiades or Cimon, had 
slain the one tyrannizing in the Chersonese or the other 
committing incest with his own sister, or had expelled 
Themistocles out of Athens at what time he lay rioting 
and revelling in the market-place and affronting all that 
came near him, according to the sentence afterwards pro- 
nounced against Alcibiades, had we not lost Marathon, the 
Eurymedon, and lovelj Artemisium, 


"Where the Athenian j'outh 

The famed foundations of their freedom laid 1 * 

For great and lofty geniuses produce nothing that is mean 
and little ; the innate smartness of their parts will not 
endure the vigor and activity of their spirits to grow lazy ; 
but they are tossed to and again, as with the waves, by the 
rolling motions of their own inordinate desire, till at length 
they arrive to a stable and settled constitution of manners. 
Therefore, as a person that is unskilful in husbandry 
would by no means make choice of a piece of ground 
quite overrun with brakes and weeds, abounding with wild 
beasts, running streams, and mud ; while, to him who hath 
learnt to understand the nature of the earth, these are cer- 
tain symptoms of the softness and fertility of the soil ; thus 
great geniuses many times produce many absurd and vile 
enormities, of which Ave not enduring the rugged and 
uneasy vexation, are presently for pruning and lopping off 
the lawless transgressors. But the more prudent judge, | 
who discerns the abounding goodness and generosity 
covertly residing in those transcendent geniuses, waits the 
co-operating age and season for reason and virtue to exert f 
themselves, and gathers the ripe fruit when Nature has 
matured it. And thus much as to those particulars. M 

7. Now to come to another part of our discourse, do you " 
not believe that some of the Greeks did very prudently to 
register that law in Egypt among their own, whereby it is 
enacted that, if a woman with cliild be sentenced to die, 
she shall be reprieved till she be delivered? All the reason 
in the world, you will say. Then, say I, though a man 
cannot bring forth children, yet if he be able, by the assist- 
ance of Time, to reveal any hidden action or conspiracy, 
or to discover some concealed mischief, or to be author of 
some wholesome piece of advice, — or suppose that in time 
he may produce some necessary and useful invention, — is 

 From Findar. 


it not better to delay the punishment and expect the benefit, 
than hastily to rid him out of the world '? It seems so to me, 
said I. And truly you are in the right, replied Patrocleas ; 
for let us consider, had Dionysius at the beginning of his 
tyranny suffered according to his merits, never would any 
of the Greeks have re-inhabited Sicily, laid waste by the 
Carthaginians. Nor would the Greeks have repossessed 
Apollonia, nor Anactorium, nor the peninsula of the 
Leucadians, had not Periander's execution been delayed 
for a long time. And if I mistake not, it was to the delay 
of Cassander's punishment that the city of Thebes was 
beholden for her recovery from desolation. But the most 
of those barbarians who assisted at the sacrilegious plun- 
der of this temple, * following Timoleon into Sicily, after 
they had vanquished the Carthaginians and dissolved the 
tyrannical government of that island, wicked as they were, 
came all to a wicked end. So the Deity makes use of 
some wicked persons as common executioners to punish 
the wickedness of others, and then destroys those instru- 
ments of his wrath, — which I believe to be true of most 
tyrants. For as the gall of a hyena and the rennet of 
a sea-calf — both filthy monsters — contain something in 
them for the cure of diseases ; so when some people de- 
serve a sharp and biting punishment, God, subjecting them 
to the implacable severity of some certain tyrant or the 
cruel oppression of some ruler, does not remove either 
the torment or the trouble, till he has cured and purified 
the distempered nation. Such a sort of physic was Pha- 
laris to the Agrigentines, and Marius to the Romans. And 
God expressly foretold the Sicyonians how much their city 
stood in need of most severe chastisement, when, after 
they had violently ravished out of the hands of the Cleo- 
nacans Teletias, a young lad who had been crowned at the 
Pythian games, they tore him limb from limb, as their own 

 That is, in the Sacred or Pliocian war, 857-340 b.c. (G.) 


fellow- citizen. Therefore Orthagoras the tyrant, and after 
him Myro and Clisthenes, put an end to the luxury and 
lasciviousness of the Sicyonians ; but the Cleonaeans, not 
having the good fortune to meet with the same cure, went 
all to wreck. To this purpose, hear what Homer says : 

From parent vile by far the better son 

Did spring, whom various virtues did renown * 

And yet we do not find that ever the son of Copreus per- 
formed any famous or memorable achievement ; but the 
offspring of Sisyphus, Autolycus, and Phlegyas flourished 
among the number of the most famous and virtuous princes. 
Pericles at Athens descended from an accursed family ; and 
Pompey the Great at Rome was the son of Strabo, whose 
dead body the Roman people, in the height of their hatred 
conceived against him when alive, cast forth into the street 
and trampled in the dirt. Where is the absurdity then, — 
as the husbandman never cuts away the thorn till it injures 
the asparagus, or as the Libyans never burn the stalks till 
they have gathered all the ladanum, — if God never extir- 
pates the evil and thorny root of a renowned and royal 
race before he has gathered from it the mature and proper 
fruit] For it would have been far better for the Phocians 
to have lost ten thousand of Iphitus's horses and oxen, or 
a far greater sum in gold and silver from the temple of 
Delphi, than that Ulysses and Aesculapius should not have 
been bom, and those many others who, of wicked and 
vicious men, became highly virtuous and beneficial to their 

8. And should we not think it better to inflict deserved 
punishments in due season and by convenient means, 
than hastily and rashly when a man is in the heat and 
hurry of passion? Witness the example of Callippus, 
who, having stabbed Dio under the pretence of being his 
friend, was himself soon after slain by Dio's intimates with 

 II. XV. 641. 


the same dagger. Thus again, when Mitius of Argos was 
slain in a city tumult, the brazen statue which stood in the 
market-place, soon after, at the time of the public shows, 
fell down upon the murderer's head and killed him. What 
befell Bessus the Paeonian, and Aristo the Oetaean, chief 
commander of the foreign soldiers, I suppose you under- 
stood full well, Patrocleas. Not I, by Jove, said he, but I 
desire to know. Well then, I say, this Aristo, having with 
permission of the tyrants carried aAvay the jewels and 
ornaments belonging to Eriphyle, which lay deposited in 
this temple, made a present of them to his wife. The 
punishment of this was that the son, being highly incensed 
against his mother, for what reason it matters not, set fire 
to his father's house, and burned it to the ground, with all 
the family that were in it. 

As for Bess as, it seems he killed his own father, and 
the murder lay concealed a long time. At length being 
invited to supper among strangers, after he had so loosened 
a swallow's nest with his spear that it fell down, he killed 
all the young ones. Upon which, being asked by the 
guests that were present, what injury the swallows had 
done him that he should commit such an irregular act ; 
Did you not hear, said he, these cursed swallows, how they 
clamored and made a noise, false witnesses as they were, 
that I had long ago killed my father 1 This answer struck 
the rest of the guests with so much wonder, that, after a 
due pondering upon his words, they made known the 
whole story to the king. Upon which, the matter being 
dived into, Bessus was brought to coiidign punishment. 

9. These things I have alleged, as it was but reason, 
upon a supposition that there is a forbearance of inflict- 
ing punishment upon the wicked. As for what remains, 
it behooves us to listen to Hesiod, where he asserts, — not 
like Plato, that punishment is a suffering which accom- 
panies injustice, — but that it is of the same age with it, 

154 coNCERNmo SUCH whom 

and arises from the same place and root. For, says he, 

Bad counsel, so the Gods ordain, 
Is most of all the adviser's bane. 

And in another place, 

He that his neijjhhor's harm contrives, his art 
Contrives tlie nischief 'gainst his own false heart. 


It is reported that the cantharis fly, by a certain kind 
of contrariety, carries within itself the cure of the wound 
which it inflicts. On the other side wickedness, at the 
same time it is committed, engendering its own vexation 
and torment, not at last, but at the very instant of the in- 
jury offered, suffers the reward of the injustice it has done. 
And as every malefactor who suffers in his body bears his 
own cross to the place of his execution, so are all the 
various torments of various wicked actions prepared by 
wickedness herself. Such a diligent architectress of a 
miserable and Avretched life is wickedness, wherein shame 
is still accompanied with a thousand terrors and commo- ' 
tions of the mind, incessant repentance, and never-ceasing 
tumults of the spirits. However, there are some people  
that differ little or nothing from children, who, many times 
beholding malefactors upon the stage, in their gilded vest- 
ments and short purple cloaks, dancing with crowns upon 
their heads, admire and look upon them as the most happy 
persons in the world, till they see them gored and lashed, 
and flames of fire curling from underneath their sumptuous 
and gaudy garments. Thus there are many wicked men, 
surrounded with numerous families, splendid in the pomp 
of magistracy, and illustrious for the greatness of their 
power, whose punishments never display themselves till 
those glorious persons come to be the public spectacles of 
the people, either slain and lying weltering in their blood, 
or else standing on the top of the rock, ready to be tum- 
bled headlong down the precipice; which indeed cannot 

* llesiod, Works and Days, 265. 


SO well be said to be a punishment, as the consummation 
and perfection of punishment. 

Moreover, as Herodicus the Selymbrian, falling into a 
consumption, the most incurable of all diseases, was the 
first who intermixed the gymnastic art with the science of 
physic (as Plato relates), and in so doing did spin out 
in length a tedious time of dying, as well for himself as 
for others laboring under the same distemper ; in like 
manner some wicked men who flatter themselves to have 
escaped the present punishment, not after a longer time, but 
for a longer time, endure a more lasting, not a slower 
punishment ; not punished wdth old age, but growing old 
under the tribulation of tormenting afiliction. When I 
speak of a long time I speak in reference to ourselves. 
For as to the Gods, every distance and distinction of hu- 
man life is nothing ; and to say " now, and not thirty years 
ago " is the same thing as to say that such a malefactor 
should be tormented or hanged in the afternoon and not in 
the morning ; — more especially since a man is but shut up 
in this life, like a close prisoner in a gaol, from whence it 
is impossible to make an escape, while yet we feast and 
banquet, are full of business, receive rewards and honors 
and sport. Though certainly these are but like the sports 
of those that play at dice or draughts in the gaol, while the 
rope all the while hangs over their heads. 

10. So that what should hinder me from asserting, that 
they who are condemned to die and shut up in prison are 
not truly punished till the executioner has chopped off 
their ligads, or that he who has drunk hemlock, and then 
walks about and stays till a heaviness seizes his limbs, has 
suffered no punishment before the extinction of his natural 
heat and the coagulation of his blood deprive him of his 
senses, — that is to say, if we deem the last moment of the 
punishment only to be the punishment, and omit t)ie com- 
motions, terrors, apprehensions, and cmbitterments of re- 


pentance, with which every malefactor and all wicked men 
are teased upon the committing of any heinous crime? 
But this is to deny the fish to be taken that has swal- 
lowed the hook, before we see it boiled and cut into pieces 
by the cook ; for every offender is within the gripes of the 
law, so soon as he has committed the crime and has swal- 
lowed the sweet bait of injustice, while his conscience 
within, tearing and gnawing upon his vitals, allows him no 
rest : 

Like the swift tunny, friglited from his prey. 
Rolling and plunging in the angered sea. 

For the daring rashness and precipitate boldness of iniquity 
continue violent and active till the fact be perpetrated ; 
but then the passion, like a surceasing tempest, growing 
slack and weak, surrenders itself to superstitious fears and 
terrors. So that Stesichorus may seem to have composed 
the dream of Clytemnestra, to set forth the event and truth 
of things : 

Then seemed a dragon to draw near, 

With mattery blood all on his head besmeared ; 

Therefrom the king Plisthenides appeared. 

For visions in dreams, noon-day apparitions, oracles, de- 
scents into hell, and whatever objects else which may be 
thought to be transmitted from heaven, raise continual 
tempests and horrors in the very souls of the guilty. Thus 
it is reported that Apollodorus in a dream beheld himself 
flayed by the Scythians and then boiled, and that his heart, 
speaking to him out of the kettle, uttered these words, I 
am the cause thou sufFerest all this. And another time, 
that he saw his daughters run about him, their bodies 
burning and all in a flame. Hipparchus also, the son of 
Pisistratus, had a dream, that the Goddess Venus out of a 
certain phial flung blood in his face. The favorites of 
Ptolemy, surnamed the Thunderer, dreamed that they saw 
their master cited to the judgment-seat by Seleucus, wherie 


wolves and vultures were his judges, and then distributing 
great quantities of flesh among his enemies. Pausanias, 
in the heat of his lust, sent for Cleonice, a free-born virgin 
of Byzantium, with an intention to have enjoyed her all 
night ; but when she came, out of a strange sort of jeal- 
ousy and perturbation for which he could give no reason, 
he stabbed her. This murder was attended with frightful 
visions ; insomuch that his repose in the night was not 
only interrupted with the appearance of her shape, but 
still he thought he heard her uttering these lines : 

To judgment-seat approacli thou near, I say; 
Wrong dealing is to men most hurtful aye. 

After this the apparition still haunting him, he sailed to 
the oracle of the dead in Heraclea, and by propitiations, 
charms, and dirges, called up the ghost of the damsel ; 
which, appearing before him, told him in few Avords, that 
he should be free from all his afli'ights and molestations 
upon his return to Lacedaemon ; where he was no fiooner 
arrived, but he died. 

11. Therefore, if nothing befalls the soul after the ex- 
piration of this life, but death is the end of all reward and 
punishment, I might infer from thence rather that the Dei- 
ty is remiss and indulgent in swiftly punishing the wicked 
and depriving them of life. For if a man shall assert 
that in the space of this life the wicked are no otherwise 
affected than by the convincement that crime is a fruitless 
and barren thing, that produces nothing of good, nothing 
worthy of esteem, from the many great and terrible com- 
bats and agonies of the mind, the consideration of these 
things altogether subverts the soul. As it is related that 
Lysimachus, being under the violent constraint of a parch- 
ing thirst, surrendered up his person and his dominions to 
the Getae for a little drink ; but after he had quenched his 
draught and found himself a captive. Shame of this wick- 
edness of mine, cried he, that for so small a pleasur ; have 


lost SO great a kingdom. But it is a difficult thing for a 
man to resist the natural necessity of mortal passions. 
Yet when a man, either out of avarice, or ambition of, 
civil honor and power, or to gratify his venereal desires] 
commits any enormous and heinous crime, after which, the 
thirst and rage of his passion being allayed, he comes to 
set before his eyes the ignominious and horrible passions 
tending to injustice still remaining, but sees nothing useful, 
nothing necessary, nothing conducible to make his life hap- 
py ; may it not be probably conjectured that such a persoi 
is frequently solicited by these reflections to consider hoi 
rashly, either prompted by vain-glory, or for the sake of 
lawless and barren pleasure, he has overthrown the noblest 
and greatest maxims of justice among men, and overfiowec 
his life with shame and trouble ? As Simonides jesting was 
wont to say, that the chest which he kept for money he 
found always full, but that which he kept for gratitude h< 
found always empty ; thus wicked men, contemplatin< 
their own wickedness, find it always void altogether and' 
destitute of hope (since pleasure gives but a short and empty 
delight), but ever weighed down with fears and sorrows, 
ungrateful remembrances, suspicions of futurity, and dis- 
trusts of present accidents. Thus we hear Ino complain- 
ing upon the theatre, after her repentance of what she 
had done : 

Dear women, tell me, with what face 
Shall I return to dwell with Atliamas, 
As if it ne'er had been my luckless fate 
The worst of foul misdeeds to perpetrate ? * 

Thus is it not reason to believe, that the soul of every wicked 
man revolves and reasons within itself, how by burying in 
oblivion former transgressions, and casting from itself the 
consciousness and the guilt of hitherto committed crimes, 
to fit frail mortality under her conduct for a new course of 
life 1 For there is nothing for a man to confide in, noth- 

* From the Ino of Euripides, Frag. 403. 


ing but what vanishes like smoke, nothing durable or con- 
stant in whatever impiety proposes to itself, — unless, by 
Jove, we will allow the unjust and vicious to be sage phi- 
losophers, — but wherever eager avarice and voluptuous- 
ness, inexorable hatred, enmity, and improbity associate 
together, there you shall also be sure to find superstition 
nestliug and herding with effeminacy and terror of death, 
a swift change of the most violent passions, and an arro- 
gant ambition after undeserved honor. Such men as 
these stand in continual dread of their contemners and 
backbiters, they fear their applauders, believing themselves 
injured by their flatteries ; and more especially, they are 
at enmity with bad men, because they are so free to extol 
those that seem good. However, that ^vhich hardens men 
to mischief soon cankers, grows brittle, and shivers in 
pieces like bad iron. So that in process of time, coming 
to understand themselves better and to be more sensible of 
their miscarriages, they disdain, abhor, and utterly disclaim 
their former course of life. And when we see how a 
wicked man who restores a trust or becomes security for 
his friend, or ambitious of honor contributes more largely 
to the benefits of his country, is immediately in a condition 
of repentance and sorry for what he has just done, by 
reason of the natural inclination of his mind to ramble 
and change ; and how some men, being clapped and 
hummed upon the theatre, presently fall a weeping,- their 
desire of glory relapsing into covetousness ; Ave surely 
cannot believe that those which sacrificed the lives of men 
to the success of their tyrannies and conspiracies, as ^pol- 
lodorus, or plundered their friends of their treasure and 
deprived them of their estates, as Glaucus the son of 
Epicydes, did not repent and abhor themselves, or that they 
were not sorry for the perpetration of such foul enormi- 
ties. For my part, if it may be lawful for me to deliver 
my opinion, I believe there is no occasion either for the 


Gods or men to inflict their pnnishment upon tlie most 
wicked and sacrilegious offenders ; seeing that the course 
of their own lives is sufficient to chastise their crimes, 
while they remain under the consternations and torments 
attending their impiety. 

12. And now consider whether my discourse have not 
enlarged itself too far. To which Timon : Perhaps (said 
he) it may seem to have been too long, if we consider 
what remains behind, and the length of time required for 
the discussion of our other doubts. For now I am going 
about to put forward the last question, like a new cham- 
pion, since we have contended already long enough upon 
the former. Now, as to what we have further to say, we 
find that Euripides delivers his mind freely, and censures 
the Gods for imputing the transgressions of forefathers 
unto their offspring. And I am apt to believe that even 
they who are most silent among us do the like. For if 
the offenders themselves have already received their re- 
ward, then there is no reason why the innocent should be 
punished, since it is not equal to punish even criminals 
twice for the same fact. But if remiss and careless, the 
Gods, omitting opportunely to inflict their penalties upon 
the wicked, send down their tardy rigor on the blameless, 
they do not well to repair their defective slowness by in- 
justice. As it is reported of Aesop, that he came upon a 
time • to Delphi, having brought along with him a great 
quantity of gold which Croesus had bestowed upon him, 
on purpose to offer a most magnificent oblation to the 
Gods, and with a design moreover to distribute among the 
priests and the people of Delphi four minas apiece. But 
there happening some disgust and difference between him 
and the Delphians, he performed his solemnity, but sent 
back his money to Sardis, not deeming those ungrateful 
people worthy of his bounty. Upon which the Delphians, 
laying their heads together, accused him of sacrilege, and 



then threw him down headlong from a steep and prodig- 
ious precipice, which is there, called Hyampia. Upon 
which it is reported that the Deity, being highly incensed 
against them for so horrid a murder, brought a famine 
upon the land, and infested the people with noisome dis- 
eases of all sorts ; insomuch that they were constrained to 
make it their business to travel to all the general assem- 
blies and places of public concourse in Greece, making 
public proclamation wherever they came, that, whoever 
they were that would demand justice for the death of 
Aesop, they were prepared to give him satisfaction and 
to undergo whatever penalty he should require. Three 
generations afterwards came one Idmon, a Samian, no way 
of kin or otherwise related to Aesop, but only descended 
from those who had purchased Aesop in Samos ; to whom 
the Delphians paid those forfeitures which he demanded, 
and were delivered from all their pressing calamities. And 
from hence (by report) it was, that the punishment of sac- 
rilegious persons was transferred from the rock Hyampia to 
that other cliff which bears the name of Nauplia. 

Neither is Alexander applauded by those who have the 
greatest esteem for his memory (of which number are we 
ourselves), who utterly laid waste the city of Branchidae, 
putting men, women, and children to the sword, for that 
their ancestors had long before delivered up the temple of 
Miletus. In like manner Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, 
when the Corcyraeans requested to know the reason of 
him, why he depopulated their island, deriding and scoffing 
at their demand, replied: For no other reason, by Jove, 
but because your forefathers entertained Ulysses. And 
when the islanders of Ithaca expostulated with him, ask- 
ing why his soldiers carried away their sheep ; because, 
said he, when your king came to our island, he put out 
the eyes of the shepherd himself. And therefore do you 
not think Apollo more extravagant than all these, for pun- 

VOL. IV. 11 



ishing so severely the Pheneatae by stopping up that pro- 
found and spacious receptacle of all those floods that now 
cover their country, upon a bare report that Hercules a 
thousand years ago took away the prophetic tripod and 
carried it to Pheneus] — or when he foretold to the Sybar- 
ites, that all their calamities should cease, upon condition 
they appeased the wrath of Leucadian Juno by enduring 
three ruinous calamities upon their country '? Nor is it so 
long since, that the Locrians surceased to send their virgins 
to Troy; 

Who like the meanest slaves, exposed to scorn, 
Barefoot, with limbs unclad, at earliest morn 
Minerva's temple sweep ; yet all the while, 
No privilege has age from weary toil. 
Nor, when with years decrepit, can they claim 
The thinnest veil to hide their aged shame ; 

and all this to punish the lasciviousness of Ajax. 

Now where is the reason or justice of all this ? Nor is 
the custom of the Thracians to be approved, who to this 
day abuse their wives in revenge of their cruelty to Or- 
pheus. And with as little reason are the Barbarians about 
the river Po to be extolled, who once a year put themselves 
into mourning for the misfortune of Phaethon. And still 
more ridiculous than all this it would certainly be, when 
all those people that lived at the time took no notice of 
Phaethon's mischance, that they, who happened to be born 
five or ten generations after, should be so idle as to take 
up the custom of going into black and bewailing his down- m 
fall. However, in all these things there is nothing to be 
observed but mere folly ; nothing pernicious, nor any thing 
dangerous. But as for the anger of the Gods, what reason 
can be given why their wrath should stop and conceal 
itself upon a sudden, like some certain rivers, and when 
all things seem to be forgot, should break forth upon 
others with so much fury, as not to be atoned but with 
some remarkable calamities ] 


13. Upon that, so soon as he had done speaking, not a 
little afraid lest, if he should begm again, he would run 
himself into many more and greater absurdities, I asked : 
Do you believe, sir, all that you have said to be true? 
Then he : Though all that I have alleged may not be true, 
yet if only some part may be allowed for truth, do not you 
think there is the same difficulty still remaining in the 
question ? It may be so, said I. And thus it is with those 
who labor under a vehement burning fever ; for, whether 
covered with one blanket or many, the heat is still the 
same or very little different ; yet for refreshment's sake it 
may be convenient sometimes to lighten the weight of the 
clothes ; and if the patient refuse your courtesy, to let him 
alone. Yet I must tell you, the greatest part of these 
examples look like fables and fiction. Call to mind there- 
fore the feast called Theoxenia lately celebrated, and that 
most noble portion which the public criers proclaim to be 
received as their due by the offspring of Pindar ; and re- 
collect with yourself, how majestic and grateful a mark of 
grandeur you look upon that to be. Truly, said he, I 
judge there is no man living who would not be sensible of 
the curiosity and elegancy of such an honor, displaying 
antiquity void of tincture and false glitter, after the Greek 
manner, unless he were such a brute that I may use the 
words of Pindar himself : 

Whose coal-black heart, from natural dross unpurged, 
Had only by cold flames at first been forged. 

Therefore I forbear, said I, to mention that proclamation 
not much unlike to this, usually made in Sparta, — " After 
the Lesbian singer," — in honor and memory of the an- 
cient Tei'pander. But you, on the other side, deem your- 
self worthy to be preferred above all the rest of the 
Boeotians, as being of the noble race of the Opheltiadae ; 
and among the Phocians you claim undoubted pre-eminence, 
for the sake of your ancestor Daiphantus. And, for my 


part, I must acknowledge that you were one of the first 
who assisted me, as my second, against the Lycormaeans 
and SatiUieans, chiiming the privilege of wearing crowns 
and the honor due by the laws of Greece to the descendants 
from Hercules ; at what time I affirmed, that those honors 
and guerdons ought more especially to be preserved in- 
violable to the immediate progeny of Hercules, in regard 
that, though he were so great a benefactor to the Greeks, 
yet in his lifetime he was not thought worthy of any 
reward or return of gratitude. You recall to my remem- 
brance, said he, a most noble contest, and Avorthy the 
debate of philosophy itself. Dismiss therefore, said I, 
that vehement humor of yours that excites you to accuse 
the Gods, nor take it ill, if many times celestial punish- 
ment discharges itself upon the offspring of the wicked 
and vicious ; or else be not too much overjoyed or too for- 
ward to applaud those honors which are due to nobility of 
birth. For it becomes us, if we believe that the reward 
of virtue ought to be extended to posterity, by the same 
reason to take it for granted that punishment for impieties 
committed ought not to be stayed and cease any sooner, 
but that it should run forward at equal pace with the 
reward, which will in turn requite every man with what is 
his due. And therefore they that with pleasure behold 
the race of Cimon highly honored in Athens, but on the 
other side, fret and fume at the exilement of the posterity 
of Lachares or Ariston, are too remiss and oscitant, or 
rather too morose and over quarrelsome with the Deity 
itself, one while accusing the Divinity if the posterity of 
an unjust and wicked person seem to prosper in the world, 
another time no less moody and finding fault if it fall cut 
that the race of the wicked come to be utterly destroyed 
and extirpated from the earth. And thus, whether the 
children of the wicked or the children of the just fall 
under affliction, the case is all one to them ; the Gods 
must suffer alike in their bad opinions. 


14. These, said I, are the preliminaries, which I would 
have you make use of against those choleric accusers and 
testy snarlers of whom I have given you warning. But 
now to take in hand once more, as it were, the first end of 
the bottom of thread, in this same dark discourse of the 
Gods, Avherein there are so many windings and turnings 
and gloomy labyrinths, let us by degrees and with caution 
direct our steps to what is most likely and probable. For, 
even in those things which fall under our daily practice 
and management, we are many times at a loss to determine 
the undoubted and unquestioned truth. For example, 
what certain reason can be given for that custom amongst 
us, of ordering the children of parents that die of a con- 
sumption or a dropsy to sit with both their feet soaking in 
the water till the dead body be burnt? For people believe, 
that thereby the disease is prevented from becoming heredi- 
tary, and also that it is a charm to secure those children 
from it as long as they live. Again, what should be the 
reason, that if a goat take a piece of sea-holly in her 
mouth, the whole herd will stand still till the goat-herd 
come and take it out? Other hidden properties there are, 
which, by virtue of certain touches and transitions, pass 
from some bodies into others with incredible swiftness and 
often to incredible distances. But we are more apt to 
wonder at distances of time than those of space. And yet 
there is more reason to wonder, that Athens should be 
infected with an epidemic contagion taking its rise in 
Ethiopia, that Pericles should die and Thucydides be smit- 
ten with the infection, than that, upon the impiety of the 
Delphians and Sybarites, delayed vengeance should at 
length overtake their posterity. For these hidden powers 
and properties have their sacred connections and corre- 
spondences between their utmost endings and their first 
beginnings ; of which although the causes be concealed 
from us, yet silently they bring to pass their proper eff'ects. 


15. Not but that there is a reason ready at hand for the 
public punishments showered down from heaven upon 
particular cities. For a city is a kind of entire thing and 
continued body, a certain sort of creature, never subject to 
the changes and alterations of age, nor varying through 
process of time from one thing to another, but always 
sympathizing and in unity with itself, and receiving the 
punishment or reward of whatever it does or has ever 
acted in common, so long as the community, which makes 
it a body and binds it together with the mutual bands of 
human benefit, preserves its unity. For he that goes about 
of one city to make many, and perhaps an infinite number, 
by distinguishing the intervals of time, seems to be like a 
person who would make several of one single man, because 
he is now grown elderly who before was a young man, and 
before that a mere stripling. Or rather, it resembles the 
method of disputing amongst the Epicharmians, the first , 
authors of that manner of arguing called the increaser. M 
For example : he that formerly ran in debt, although he ^ 
never paid it, owes nothing now, as being become another 
man ; and he that was invited yesterday to supper comes 
the next night an unbidden guest, for that he is quite 
another person. And indeed the distinctions of ages cause 
greater alterations in every one of us than commonly they 
do in cities. For he that has seen Athens may know it 
again thirty years after ; the present manners, motions, 
pastimes, serious studies, their familiarities and marks of 
their displeasure, little or nothing difi'ering from what for- 
merly they were. But after a long absence there is many 
a man who, meeting his own familiar friend, hardly knows 
him again, by reason of the great alteration of his coun- 
tenance and the change of his manners, which are so easily 
subject to the alterations of language, labor, and employ- 
ment, all manner of accidents, and mutation of laws, that 
even they who are most usually conversant with him ad- 



mire to see the strangeness and novelty of the change ; and 
yet the man is reputed still to be the same from his birth 
to his decease. In the same manner does a city still re- 
main the same ; and for that reason we think it but justice, 
that a city should as well be obnoxious to the blame and 
reproach of its ancient inhabitants, as participate the glory 
of their former puissance and renown ; else we shall throw 
every thing before we know it into the river of Heraclitus, 
into which (he says) no one can step twice,* since Nature 
by her changes is ever altering and transforming all things. 
16. Now then, if a city be one entire and continued 
body, the same opinion is to be conceived of a race of 
men, depending upon one and the same beginning, and 
carrying along with it a certain power and communion of 
qualities ; in regard that what is begotten cannot be thought 
to be severed from that which begets it, like a piece of 
workmanship from the artificer ; the one being begotten 
of the person, the other framed by him. So that what is 
engendered is a part of the original from whence it sprung, 
whether meriting honor or deserving punishment. So that, 
were it not that I might be thought to be too sportive in a 
serious discourse, I would affirm, that the Athenians were 
more unjust to the statue of Cassander when they caused 
it to be melted down and defaced, and that the Syracusans 
were more rigorous to the dead carcass of Dionysius when 
they cast it forth of their own confines, than if they had 
punished their posterity ; for that the statue did no way 
partake of the substance of Cassander, and the soul of 
IJionysius was absolutely departed from the body deceased. 
Whereas Nisaeus, Apollocrates, Antipater, Philip, and 
several others descended from wicked parents, still retained 
the most principal part of those who begot them, not lazily 

* Referring to the doctrine of Heraclitus, that all Nature is moving onward, and 
nothing is tlie same two successive moments. " You cannot step twice into the 
same river," he says. See Plat. Cratyl. p. 402 A. (G.) 


and sluggishly dormant, but that very part by which they 
live, are nourished, act and move, and become rational and 
sensible creatures. Neither is there any thing of absurdity, 
if, being the offspring of such parents, they should retain 
many of their bad qualities. In short, therefore, I affirm 
that, as it is in the practice of physic, that whatever is 
wholesome and profitable is likewise just, and as he would 
be accounted ridiculous that should aver it to be an act of 
injustice to cauterize the thumb for the cure of the sciatica, 
or when the liver is imposthumated, to scarify the belly, or 
when the hoofs of laboring oxen are over tender, to anoint 
the tips of their horns ; in the same manner is he to be 
laughed at who seeks for any other justice in the punish- 
ment of vice than the cure and reformation of the offender, 
and who is angry when medicine is applied to some parts 
for the cure of others, as when a chirurgeon opens a vein 
to give his patient ease upon an inflammation of the eyes. 
For such a one seems to look no farther than what he 
reaches by his senses, forgetting that a schoolmaster, by 
chastising one, admonishes all the rest of his scholars, and 
that a general, condemning only one in ten, reduces all the 
rest to obedience. And thus there is not only a cure and 
amendment of one part of the body by another ; but many 
times the very soul itself is inclined to vice or reformation, 
by the lewdness or virtue of another, and indeed much 
more readily than one body is affected by another. For, in 
the case of the body, as it seems natural, the same affec- 
tions and the same changes must always occur ; while the 
soul, being agitated by fancy and imagination, becomes 
better or worse, as it is either daring and confident or 
timorous and mistrustful. 

17. While I was yet speaking, Olympicus interrupting 
me said : You seem by this discourse of yours to infer as 
if the soul were immortal, which is a supposition of great 
consequence. It is very true, said I, nor is it any more 


than what yourselves have granted ah'eady ; in regard the 
whole dispute has tended from the beginning to this, that 
the supreme Deity overlooks us, and deals to every one of 
us according to our deserts. To which the other : Do you 
then believe (said he) it follows of necessity that, because 
the Deity observes our actions and distributes to every one 
of us according to our merits, therefore our souls should 
exist and be altogether incorruptible, or else for a certain 
time survive the body after death ] Not so fast, good sir, 
said I. But can we think that God so little considers his 
own actions, or is such a waster of his time in trifles, that, 
if we had nothing of divine within us, nothing that in the 
least resembled his perfection, nothhig permanent and sta- 
ble, but were only poor creatures, that (according to Ho- 
mer's expression) faded and dropped like withered leaves, 
and in a short time too, yet he should make so great ac- 
count of us — like women that bestow their pains in mak- 
ing little gardens, no less delightful to them than the 
gardens of Adonis, in earthen pans and pots — as to create 
us souls to blossom and flourish only for a day, in a soft 
and tender body of flesh, without any firm and solid root 
of life, and then to be blasted and extinguished in a mo- 
ment upon every slight occasion? And therefore, if you 
please, not concerning ourselves with other Deities, let us 
go no farther than the God Apollo, whom here we call 
our own ; see whether it is likely that he, knowing that 
the souls of the deceased vanish away like clouds and 
smoke, exhaling from our bodies like a vapor, requires 
that so many propitiations and such great honors be paid 
to the dead, and such veneration be given to the de- 
ceased, merely to delude and cozen his believers. And 
therefore, for my part, I will never deny the immortality of 
the soul, till somebody or other, as they say Hercules did 
of old, shall be so daring as to come and take away the 
prophetical tripod, and so quite ruin and destroy the oracle, 


For as long as many oracles are uttered even in these our 
days by the Delphic soothsayer, the same in substance 
which was formerly given to Corax the Naxian, it is im- 
pious to declare that the human soul can die. 

Then Patrocleas : What oracle was this ? Who was 
that same Corax? For both the answer itself and the 
person whom you mention are strangers to my remem- 
brance. Certainly, said I, that cannot be ; only it was my 
error which occasioned your ignorance, in making use of 
the addition to the name instead of the name itself. For 
it was Calondas, who slew Archilochus in fight, and who 
was surnamed Corax. He was thereupon ejected by the 
Pythian priestess, as one who had slain a person devoted 
to the Muses ; but afterwards, humbling himself in prayers 
and supplications, intermixed with undeniable excuses of 
the fact, was enjoined by the oracle to repair to the habita- 
tion of Tettix, there to expiate his crime by appeasing the 
ghost of Archilochus. That place was called Taenarus ; 
for there it was, as the report goes, that Tettix the Cretan, 
coming with a navy, landed, built a city not far from the 
Psychopompaeum (or place where ghosts are conjured up), 
and stored it with inhabitants. In like manner, when the 
Spartans w^ere commanded by the oracle to atone the ghost fl 
of Pausanias, they sent for several exercisers and conjur- 
ers out of Italy, who by virtue of their sacrifices chased 
the apparition out of the temple. 

18. Therefore, said I, there is one and the same reason 
to confirm the providence of God and the immortality of 
the soul ; neither is it possible to admit the one, if you 
deny the other. Now then, the soul surviving after the 
decease of the body, the inference is the stronger that it 
partakes of punishment and rew^ard. For during this mor- 
tal life the soul is in continual combat like a wrestler ; but 
after all those conflicts are at an end, she then receives ac- 
cording to her merits. But what the punishments and what 


the rewards of past transgressions or just and laudable ac- 
tions are to be while the soul is thus alone by itself, is 
nothing at all to us that are alive ; for either they are al- 
together concealed from our knowledge, or else we give 
but little credit to them. But those punishments that 
reach succeeding posterity, being conspicuous to all that 
are living at the same time, restrain and curb the inclina- 
tions of many wicked persons. Now I have a story that I 
lately heard, which I might relate to show that there is no 
punishment more grievous or that touches more to the quick, 
than for a man to behold his children born of his body suf- 
fering for his crimes ; and that, if the soul of a wicked 
and lawless criminal were to look back to earth and be- 
hold, not his statues overturned and his dignities reversed, 
but his own children, his friends, or his nearest kindred 
ruined and overwhelmed with calamity, such a person, 
Avere he to return to life again, would rather choose the re- 
fusal of all Jupiter's honors than abandon himself a sec- 
ond time to his wonted injustice and extravagant desires. 
This story, I say, I could relate, but that I fear lest you should 
censure it for a fable. And therefore I deem it much the 
better way to keep close to what is probable and consen- 
taneous to reason. By no means, replied Olympicus ; but 
proceed, and gratify us with your story also, since it was 
so kindly offered. Thereupon, when the rest of the com- 
pany likewise made me the same request. Permit me, said 
I, in the first place, to pursue the rational part of my dis- 
course, and then, according as it shall seem proper and 
convenient, if it be a fable, you shall hare it as cheap as I 
heard it. 

19. Bion was of opinion that God, in punishing the 
children of the wicked for the sins of their fathers, seems 
more irregular than a physician that should administer 
physic to a son or a grandchild, to cure the distemper of 
a father or a grandfather. But this comparison does not 


run cleverly ; since the amplification of the similitude 
agrees only in some things, but in others is altogether de- 
fective. For if one man be cured of a disease by physic, 
the same medicine will not cure another ; nor was it ever 
known that any person troubled with sore eyes or laboring 
under a fever was ever restored to perfect health by seeing 
another in the same condition anointed or plastered. But 
the punislmients or executions of malefactors are done 
publicly in the face of the world, to the end that, justice 
appearing to be the effect of prudence and reason, some 
may be restrained by the correction inflicted upon others. 
So that Bion never rightly apprehended where the com- 
parison answered to our question. For oftentimes it hap- 
pens, that a man comes to be haunted with a troublesome 
though not incurable disease, and through sloth and in 
temperance increases his distemper, and weakens his body 
to that degree that he occasions his own death. After 
this, it is true, the son does not fall sick ; only he has re 
ceived from his father's seed such a habit of body as makes 
him liable to the same disease ; which a good physician or 
a tender friend or a skilful apothecary or a careful master 
observing confined him to a strict and spare diet, restrains 
him from all manner of superfluity, keeps him from all 
the temptations of delicious fare, wine, and women, and 
making use of wholesome and proper physic, together with 
convenient exercise, dissipates and extirpates the original 
cause of a distemper at the beginning, before it grows to 
a head and gets a masterless dominion over the body. 
And is it not our usual practice thus to admonish those 
that are born of diseased parents, to take timely care of 
themselves, and not to neglect the malady, but to expel 
the original nourishment of the inbred evil, as being then 
easily movable and apt for expulsion] It is very true, cried 
they. Therefore, said I, we cannot be said to do an ab- 
surd thing, but what is absolutely necessary, — nor that 


whicli is ridiculous, but what is altogether useful, — while 
we prescribe to the children of the epileptic, the hypo- 
chondriacal, and those that are subject to the gout, such 
exercises, diet, and remedies as are proper, not so much 
because they are at that time troubled with the distemper, 
as to prevent the malady. For a man begotten by an un- 
sound body does not therefore deserve punishment, but 
rather the preservation of proper physic and good regi- 
men ; Avhich if any one call the punishment of fear or 
effeminacy, because the person is debarred his pleasures 
and put to some sort of pain by cupping and blistering, 
we mind not what he says. If then it be of such impor- 
tance to preserve, by physic and other proper means, the 
vitiated offspring of another body, foul and corrupted; 
ought we to suffer the hereditary resemblances of a wick- 
ed nature to sprout up and bud in the youthful character, 
and to Avait till they are diffused into all the affections of 
the mind, and bring forth and ripen the malignant fruit 
of a mischievous disposition? For such is the expression 
of Pindar. 

20. Or can you believe but that in this particular God 
is wiser than Hesiod, admonishing and exhorting us in 
this manner : * 

Nor mind the pleasures of the genial bed, 

Returning from tli' interment of tlie dead ; 

But propagate the race, wlien heavenly food 

And feasting with the Gods have warmed the blood ; 

intimating thereby, that a man was never to attempt the 
work of generation but in the height of a jocund and 
merry humor, and when he found himself as it were dis- 
solved into jollity ; as if from procreation proceeded the 
impressions not only of vice or virtue, but of sorrow and 
joy, and of all other qualities and affections whatever. 
However, it is not the work of human wisdom (as Hesiod 
supposes) but of divine providence, to foresee the sym- 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 785. 


pathies and differences of men's natures, before the ma- 
lignant infection of their unruly passions come to exert 
itself, by hurrying their unadvised youth into a thousand 
villanous miscarriages. For though the cubs of bears and 
whelps of wolves and apes immediately discover their 
several inbred qualities and natural conditions without any 
disguise or artificial concealment, man is nevertheless a 
creature more refined, who, many times curbed by the 
shame of transgressing common customs, universal opinion, 
or the law, conceals the evil that is within him, and imi- 
tates only what is laudable and honest. So that he may 
be thought to have altogether cleansed and rinsed away 
the stains and imperfections of his vicious disposition, and 
so cunningly for a long time to have kept his natural cor- 
ruption wrapped up under the covering of craft and dis- 
simulation, that we are scarce sensible of the fiUlacy till we 
feel the stripes or sting of his injustice ; believing men to 
be only then unjust, when they offer wrong to ourselves ; 
lascivious, when we see them abandoning themselves to 
their lusts ; and cowards, when we see them turning their 
backs upon the enemy ; just as if any man should be so 
idle as to believe a scorpion had no sting until he felt it, 
or that a viper had no venom until it bit him, — which is 
a silly conceit. For there is no man that only then be- 
comes wicked when he appears to be so ; but, having the 
seeds and principles of iniquity within him long before, 
the thief steals when he meets with a fit opportunity, and 
the tyrant violates the law when he finds himself sur- 
rounded with sufficient power. But neither is the nature 
and disposition of any man concealed from God, as taking 
upon him with more exactness to scrutinize the soul than 
the body ; nor does he tarry till actual violence or lewdness 
be committed, to punish the hands of the wrong-doer, the 
tongue of the profane, or the transgressing members of 
the lascivious and obscene. For he does not exercise his 


vengeance on the unjust for any wrong that he has received 
by his injustice, nor is he angry with the highway robber 
for any violence done to himself, nor does he abominate 
the adulterer for defiling his bed ; but many times, by way 
of cure and reformation, he chastises the adulterer, the 
covetous miser, and the wronger of his neighbors, as pliy- 
sicians endeavor to subdue an epilepsy by preventing the 
coming of the fits. 

21. What shall I sayl But even a little before we 
were offended at the Gods protracting and delaying the 
punishments of the wicked, and now we are as much dis- 
pleased that they do not curb and chastise the depravities 
of an evil disposition before the fact committed ; not con- 
sidering that many times a mischief contrived for future 
execution may prove more dreadful than a fact already 
committed, and that dormant villany may be more dan- 
gerous than open and apparent iniquity ; not being able 
to apprehend the reason wherefore it is better to bear with 
the unjust actions of some men, and to prevent the medi- 
tating and contrivance of mischief in others. As, in truth, 
we do not rightly comprehend why some remedies and 
physical drugs are no way convenient for those that labor 
under a real disease, yet wholesome and profitable for 
those tliat are seemingly in health, but yet perhaps in a 
worse condition than they who are sick. Whence it comes 
to pass, that the Gods do not always turn the transgres- 
sions of parents upon their children ; but if a virtuous son 
happen to be the offspring of a wicked father, — as often 
it falls out that a sane child is born of one that is unsound 
and crazy, — such a one is exempted from the punishment 
which threatens the whole descent, as having been adopted 
into a virtuous family. But for a young man that treads 
in the footsteps of a criminal race, it is but just that he 
shoidd succeed to the punishment of his ancestor's ini- 
quity, as one of the debts attached to his inheritance. 


For neither was Antigonus punished for the crimes of 
Demetrius ; nor (among the ancient heroes) Phyleus for 
the transgressions of Augeas, nor Nestor for the impiety of 
Neleus ; in regard that, though their parents were wicked, 
yet they were virtuous themselves. But as for those whose 
nature has emhraced and espoused the vices of their par- 
entage, them holy vengeance prosecutes, pursuing the like- 
ness and resemblance of sin. For as the warts and moles 
and freckles of parents, not seen upon the children of 
their own begetting, many times afterwards appear again 
upon the children of their sons and daughters ; and as the 
Grecian woman that brought forth a blackamore infant, 
for which she was accused of adultery, proved herself, 
upon diligent inquiry, to be the offspring of an Ethiopian 
after four generations ; and as among the children of 
Pytho the Nisibian, — said to be descended from the 
Sparti, that were the progeny of those men that sprung 
from the teeth of Cadmus's dragon, — the youngest of his 
sons, who lately died, was born with the piint of a spear 
upon his body, the usual mark of that ancient line, which, 
not having been seen for many revolutions of years before, 
started up again, as it were, out of the deep, and showed 
itself the renewed testimonial of the infant's race ; so 
many times it happens that the first descents and eldest 
races hide and drown the passions and aifections of the 
mind peculiar to the family, which afterward bud forth 
again, and display the natural propensity of the succeeding 
progeny to vice or virtue. 

22. Having thus concluded, I held my peace ; when 
Olympicus smiling said : We forbear as yet to give you 
our approbation, that we may not seem to have forgot the 
fable ; not but that we believe your discourse to have been 
sufficiently made out by demonstration, only we reserve 
our opinion till we shall have heard the relation of that 
likewise. Upon which, I began again after this manner : 


There was one Thespesius of Soli, the friend and familiar 
acquaintance of that Protogenes who for some time con- 
versed among us. This gentleman, in his youth leading a 
debauched and intemperate life, in a short time spent his 
patrimony, and then for some years became very wicked ; 
but afterwards repenting of his former follies and extrava- 
gancies, and pursuing the recovery of his lost estate by all 
manner of tricks and shifts, did as is usual with dissolute 
and lascivious youth, who when they have wives of their 
own never mind them at all, but when they have dismissed 
them, and find them married to others that watch them 
with a more vigilant affection, endeavor to corrupt and 
vitiate them by all the unjust and wicked provocations 
imaginable. In this humor, abstaining from nothing that 
was lewd and illegal, so it tended to his gain and profit, he 
got no great matter of wealth, but procured to himself a 
world of infamy by his unjust and knavish dealing with all 
sorts of people. Yet nothing made him more the talk of 
the country, than the .answer which was brought him back 
from the oracle of Amphilochus. For thither it seems he 
sent, to inquire of the Deity whether he should live any 
better the remaining part of his life. To which the oracle 
returned, that it would be better with him after he was 
dead. And indeed, not long after, in some measure it so 
fell out ; for he happened to fall from a certain precipice 
upon his neck, and though he received no wound nor 
broke any limb, yet the force of the fall beat the breath 
out of his body. Three days after, being carried forth to 
be buried, as they were just ready to let him down into 
the grave, of a sudden he came to himself, and recovering 
his strength, so altered the whole course of his life, that it 
was almost incredible to all that knew him. For by the 
report of the Cilicians, there never was in that age a juster 
person in common dealings between man and man, more 
devout and religious as to divine worship, more an enemy 

VOL. IV. 12 


to the wicked, nor more constant and faithful to his friends ; 
which was the reason that they who were more conversant 
with him were desirous to hear from himself the cause of 
so great an alteration, not believing that so great a ref- 
ormation could proceed from bare chance ; though it was 
true that it did so, as he himself related to Protogenes and 
others of his choicest friends. 

For when his sense first left his body, it seemed to him 
as if he had been some pilot flung from the helm by the 
force of a storm into the midst of the sea. Afterwards, 
rising up again above water by degrees, so soon as he 
thought he had fully recovered his breath, he looked about 
him every way, as if one eye of his soul had been open. 
But he beheld nothing of those things which he was wont 
formerly to see, only he saw stars of a vast magnitude, at 
an immense distance one from the other, and sending forth 
a light most wonderful for the brightness of its color, which 
shot itself out in length with an incredible force ; on which 
the soul riding, as it were in a chariot, was most swiftly, 
yet as gently and smoothly, dandled from one place to 
another. But omitting the greatest part of the sights 
which he beheld, he saw, as he said, the souls of such as 
were newly departed, as they mounted from below, re- 
sembling little fiery bubbles, to which the air gave way. 
Which bubbles afterwards breaking insensibly and by de- 
grees, the soul came forth in the shapes of men and women, 
light and nimble, as being discharged of all their earthly 
substance. However, they differed in their motion ; for 
some of them leaped forth with a wonderful swiftness, and 
mounted up in a direct line ; others like so many spindles 
of spinning-wheels turned round and round, sometimes 
whisking upwards, sometimes darting downwards, with a 
confused and mixed agitation, that could hardly be stopped 
in a very long time. 

Of these souls he knew not who the most part were; 



only perceiving two or three of his acquaintance, he en- ^ 
deavored to approach and discourse them. But they 
neither heard him speak, neither indeed did they seem to 
be in their right mind, flattering and out of their senses, 
avoiding either to be seen or felt ; they frisked up and 
down at first, alone and apart by themselves, till meeting 
at length with others in the same condition, they clung to- 
gether ; but still their motions were with the same giddiness 
and uncertainty as before, without steerage or purpose ; 
and they sent forth inarticulate sounds, like the cries of 
soldiers in combat, intermixed with the doleful yells of fear 
and lamentation. Others there were that towered aloft in 
the upper region of the air, and these looked gay and 
pleasant, and frequently accosted each other with kindness 
and respect ; but they shunned those troubled souls, and 
seemed to show discontent by crowding together, and joy 
and pleasure by expanding and separating from each other. 
One of these, said he, being the soul of a certain kinsman, 
— which, because the person died when he was but very 
young, he did not very well know, — drew near him, and 
saluted him by the name of Thespesius ; at which being 
in a kind of amazement, and saying his name was not 
Thespesius but Aridaeus, the spirit replied, 'twas true that 
formerly he was so called, but that from thenceforth he 
must be Thespesius, that is to say " divine." For thou art 
not in the number of the dead as yet, it said, but by a cer- 
tain destiny and permission of the Gods, thou art come 
hither only with thy intellectual faculty, having left the 
rest of thy soul, like an anchor, in thy body. And that 
thou rhayst be assured of this, observe it for a certain rule, 
both now and hereafter, that the souls of the deceased 
neither cast any shadow, neither do they open and shut 
their eyelids. Thespesius having heard this discourse, was 
so much the more encouraged to make use of his own rea- 
son; and therefore' looking round about to prove the truth 


of what had been told him, he could perceive that there 
followed him a kind of obscure and shadowlike line, 
whereas those other souls shone like a round body of per- 
fect light, and w^ere transparent within. And yet there 
was a very great difference between them too ; for that 
some yielded a smooth, even, and contiguous lustre, all of 
one color, like the full-moon in her brightest splendor ; 
others were marked with long scales or slender streaks ; 
others were all over spotted and very ugly to look upon, 
as being covered with black speckles like the skins of 
vipers ; and others were marked by faint scratches. 

Moreover, this kinsman of Thespesius (for nothing hin- 
ders but that we may call the souls by the names of the 
persons which they enlivened), proceeding to give a rela- 
tion of several other things, informed his friend how that 
Adrastea, the daughter of Jupiter and Necessity, was seated 
in the highest place of all, to punish all manner of crimes 
and enormities ; and that in the whole number of the 
wicked and ungodly, there never was any one, whether 
great or little, high or low, rich or poor, that ever could 
by force or cunning escape the severe lashes of her rigor. 
But as there are three sorts of punishments, so there are 
three several Furies, or female ministers of justice ; and to 
every one of these belongs a peculiar office and degree of 
punishment. The first of these was called Speedy Punish- 
ment, who takes in charge those that are presently to re- 
ceive bodily punishment in this life, which she manages 
after a more gentle manner, omitting the correction of 
many offences which need expiation. But if the cure of 
impiety require a greater labor, the Deity delivers them 
after death to Justice. But when Justice has given them 
over as altogether incurable, then the third and most severe 
of all Adrastea's ministers, Erinnys (the Fury), takes them 
in hand ; and after she has chased and coursed them from 
one place to another, flying, yet not knowing where to 


fiy, for shelter or relief, plagued and tormented with a 
thousand miseries, she plunges them headlong into an 
invisible abyss, the hideousness of which no tongue car. 

Now, of all these three sorts, that which is inflicted by 
punishment in this life resembles the practice among the 
barbarians. For, as among the Persians, they take off the 
garments and turbans of those that are to be punished, and 
tear and whip them before the offender's faces, while the 
criminals, with tears and lamentations, beseech the execu- 
tioners to give over ; so corporal punishments, and penal- 
ties by mulcts and fines, have no sharpness or severity, nor 
do they take hold upon the vice itself, but are inflicted for 
the most part only with regard to appearance and to the 
outward sense. But if any one comes hither that has 
escaped punishment while he lived upon earth and before 
he was well purged from his crimes, Justice takes him to 
task, naked as he is, with his soul displayed, as having 
nothing to conceal or veil his impiety ; but on all sides and 
to all men's eyes and every way exposed, she shows him 
first to his honest parents, if he had any such, to let them 
see how degenerate he was and unworthy of his pro- 
genitors. But if they were wicked likewise, then are 
their sufferings rendered yet more terrible by the mutual 
sight of each other's miseries, and those for a long time 
inflicted, till each individual crime has been quite effaced 
with pains and torments as far surmounting in sharpness 
and severity all punishments and tortures of the flesh, as 
what is real and evident surpasses an idle dream. But the 
weals and stripes that remain after punishment appear 
more signal in some, in others are less evident. 

View there, said he, those various colors of souls. That 
same black and sordid hue is the tincture of avarice and 
fraud. That bloody and flame-like dye betokens cruelty, 
and an imbittercd desire of revenge. Where you perceive 


a bluish color, it is a sign that soul will hardly be clefinsed 
from the impurities of lascivious pleasure and voluptuous- 
ness. Lastly, that same dark, violet, and venomous color, 
resembling the sordid ink which the cuttle fish spews up,, 
proceeds from envy. For as during life the wickedness of 
the soul, being governed by human passions and itself 
governing the body, occasions this variety of colors ; so 
here it is the end of expiation and punishment, when these 
are cleansed away, and the soul recovers her native lustre . 
and becomes clear and spotless. But so long as these reJ 
main, there will be some certain returns of the passions, 
accompanied with little pantings and beatings, as it were 
of the pulse, in some remiss and languid and quickly ex- 
tinguished, in others more quick and vehement. Some of 
these souls, being again and again chastised, recover a due 
habit and disposition ; while others, by the force of igno- 
rance and the enticing show of pleasure, are carried into 
the bodies of brute beasts. For while some, through the 
feebleness of their ratiocinating, while their slothfulness 
will not permit them to contemplate, are impelled by their 
active principle to seek a new generation ; others again, 
wanting the instrument of intemperance, yet desirous to 
gratify their desires with the full swing of enjoyment, en- 
deavor to promote their designs by means of the body. 
But alas ! here is nothing but an imperfect shadow and 
dream of pleasure, that never attains to ability of perform- 

Having thus said, the spirit quickly carried Thespesius 
to a certain place, as it appeared to him, prodigiously 
spacious ; yet so gently and without the least deviation, 
that he seemed to be borne upon the rays of the light as 
upon wings. Thus at length he came to a certain gaping 
chasm, that was fathomless downward, where he found 
himself deserted by that extraordinary force which brought 
him thither, and perceived other souls also to be there in 


the same condition. For hovering upon the wing in flocks 
together like birds, they kept flying round and round the 
yawning rift, but durst not enter into it. Now this same 
cleft withinside resembled the dens of Bacchus, fringed 
about with the pleasing verdure of various herbs and 
plants, that yielded a more delightful prospect still of all 
sorts of flowers, enamelling the green so with a wonderful 
diversity of colors, and breathing forth at the same time a 
soft and gentle breeze, which perfumed all the ambient air 
with odors most surprising, as grateful to the smell as the 
sweet flavor of wine to those that love it. Insomuch that 
the souls banqueting upon these fragrancies were almost 
all dissolved in raptures of mirth and caresses one among 
another, there being nothing to be heard for some fair 
distance round about the place, but jollity and laughter, 
and all the cheerful sounds of joy and harmony, which are 
usual among people that pass their time in sport and merri- 

The spirit said, moreover, that Bacchus ascended through 
this overture to heaven, and afterwards returning fetched 
up Semele the same way ; and that it was called the place 
of oblivion. Wherefore his kinsman would not sufl'er 
Thespesius to tarry there any longer, though very unwill- 
ing to depart, but took him away by force ; informing and 
instructing him withal, how strangely and how suddenly the 
mind was subject to be softened and melted by pleasure ; 
that the irrational and corporeal part, being watered and 
incarnated thereby, revives the memory of the body, 
and that from this remembrance proceed concupiscence 
and desire, exciting an appetite for a new generation and 
entrance into a body — which is named yt'veaig as being an 
indhicdion towards the earth (Im yijv vevaig) — when the soul 
is Aveighed down with overmuch moisture. 

At k^ngth, after he had been carried as far another way 
as when he was transported to the yawning overture, he 


thought he beheld a prodigious standing goblet, into which 
several rivers discharged themselves ; among which there 
was one whiter than snow or the foam of the sea, anotlier 
resembled the purple color of the rainbow. The tinctures 
of the rest were various ; besides that, they had their sev- 
eral lustres at a distance. But when he drew nearer, the 
ambient air became more subtile and rarefied, and the colors 
vanished, so the goblet retained no more of its flourishing 
beauty except the white. At the same time he saw three 
Daemons sitting together in a triangular aspect, and blend- 
ing and mixing the rivers together with certain measures. 
Thus far, said the guide of Thespesius's soul, did Orpheus 
come, when he sought after the soul of his wife ; and not 
well remembering what he had seen, upon his return he 
raised a false report in the world, that the oracle at Delphi 
was in common to Night and Apollo, whereas Apollo never 
had any thing in common with Night. But, said the spirit, 
this oracle is in common to Night and to the Moon, no way 
included within earthly bounds, nor having any fixed or 
certain seat, but always wandering among men in dreams 
and visions. For from hence it is that all dreams are dis- 
persed, compounded as they are of truth jumbled with 
falsehood, and sincerity with the various mixtures of craft 
and delusion. But as for the oracle of Apollo, said the 
spirit, you neither do see it, neither can you behold it ; for 
the earthly part of the soul is not capable to release or let 
itself loose, nor is it permitted to reach sublimity, but it 
swags downward, as being fastened to the body. 

And with that, leading Thespesius nearer, the spirit en- 
deavored to show him the light of the Tripod, which, as he 
said, shooting through the bosom of Themis, fell upon 
Parnassus ; which Thespesius was desirous to see, but 
could not, in regard the extraordinary brightness of the 
light dazzled his eyes ; only passing by, he heard the shrill 
voice of a woman speaking in verse and measure, and 


among other things, as he thought, foretelling the time of 
his death. This the genius told him was the voice of a 
Sibyl who, being orbicularly whirled about in the face of 
tlie moon, continually sang of future events. Thereupon 
being desirous to hear more, he was tossed the quite con- 
trary way by the violent motion of the moon, as by the 
force of rolling waves ; so that he could hear but very little, 
and that very concisely too. Among other things, he heard 
what was prophesied concerning the mountain Vesuvius, 
and the future destruction of Dicaearchia by fire ; together 
with a piece of a verse concerning a certain emperor * or 
great famous chieftain of that age. 

Who, tliougli so just that no man could accuse, 
Ilowe'er his empire should by sickness lose. 

After this, they passed on to behold the torments of those 
that were punished. And indeed at first they met with 
none but lamentable and dismal sights. For Thespesius, 
when he least suspected any such thing, and before he was 
aware, was got among his kindred, his acquaintance, and 
companions, who, groaning under the horrid pains of their 
cruel and ignominious punishments, with mournful cries 
and lamentations called him by his name. At length he 
saw his father ascending out of a certain abyss, all full of 
stripes, gashes, and scars ; who stretching forth his hands 
— not permitted to keep silence, but constrained to confess 
by his tormentors — acknowledged that he had most im- 
piously poisoned several of his guests for the sake of their 
gold ; of which not being detected while he lived upon 
earth, but being convicted after his decease, he had endured 
part of his torments already, and now they were haling 
him where he should suffer more. However, he durst not 
either entreat or intercede for his father, such was his fear 
and consternation ; and therefore being desirous to retire 
and be gone, he looked about for his kind and courteous 

* The Emperor Vespasian. 


guide ; but he had quite left him, so that he saw him no 

Nevertheless, being pushed forward by other deformed 
and grim-looked gobHns, as if there had been some neces- 
sity for him to pass forward, he saw how that the shadows 
of such as had been notorious malefactors, and had been 
punished in this world, were not tormented so grievously 
nor alike to the others, in regard that only the imperfect 
and irrational part of the soul, which was consequently 
most subject to passions, was that which made them so 
industrious in vice. Whereas those who had shrouded a 
vicious and impious life under the outward profession and 
a gained opinion of virtue, their tormentors constrained to 
turn their insides outward with great difficulty and dread- 
ful pain, and to writhe and screw themselves contrary to 
the course of nature, like the sea scolopenders, which, 
having swallowed the hook, throw forth their bowels and 
lick it out again. Others they flayed and scarified, to 
display their occult hypocrisies and latent impieties, which 
had possessed and corrupted the principal part of their 
souls. Other souls, as he said, he also saw, which being 
twisted two and two, three and three, or more together 
gnawed and devoured each other, either upon the score of 
old grudges and former malice they had borne one another, 
or else in revenge of the injuries and losses they had sus- 
tained upon earth. 

Moreover, he said, there were certain lakes that lay 
parallel and equidistant one from the other, the one of 
boiling gold, another of lead, exceeding cold, and the 
third of iron, which was very scaly and rugged. By the 
sides of these lakes stood certain Daemons, that with their 
instruments, like smiths or founders, put in or drew out 
the souls of such as had transgressed either through avar- 
ice or an eager desire of other men's goods. For the flame 
of the golden furnace having rendered these souls of a fiery 


and transparent color, they plunged them into that of lead ; 
where after they were congealed and hardened into a sub- 
stance like hail, they were then thrown into the lake of 
iron, where they became black and deformed, and being 
broken and crumbled by the roughness of the iron, changed 
their form ; and being thus transformed, they were again 
thrown into the lake of gold ; in all these transmutations 
enduring most dreadful and horrid torments. But they 
that suffered the most dire and dismal torture of all were 
those who, thinking that divine vengeance had no more to 
say to them, were again seized and dragged to repeated 
execution ; and these were those for whose transgression 
their children or posterity had suffered. For when any of 
the souls of those children come hither and meet with any 
of their parents or ancestors, they fall into a passion, ex- 
claim against them, and show them the marks of what they 
have endured. On the other side, the souls of the parents 
endeavor to sneak out of sight and hide themselves ; but 
the others follow them so close at the heels, and load them 
in such a manner with bitter taunts and reproaches, that 
not being able to escape, their tormentors presently lay 
hold of them, and hale them to new tortures, howling and 
yelling at the very thought of what they have suffered 
already. And some of these souls of suffering posterity, 
he said, there were, that swarmed and clung together like 
bees or bats, and in that posture murmured forth their an- 
gry complaints of the miseries and calamities which they 
had endured for their sakes. 

The last things that he saw were the souls of such as 
were designed for a second life. These were bowed, bent, 
and transformed into all sorts of creatures by the force of 
tools and anvils and the strength of workmen appointed 
for that purpose, that laid on without mercy, bruising the 
whole limbs of some, breaking others, disjointing others, 
and pounding some to powder and annihilation, on purpose 



to render them fit for other lives and manners. Among 
the rest, he saw the soul of Nero many ways most griev- 
ously tortured, but more especially transfixed with iron 
nails. Tliis soul the workmen took in hand ; but when 
tiiey had forged it into the form of one of Pindar's vipers, 
which eats its way to life through the bowels of the female, 
of a sudden a conspicuous light shone out, and a voice 
was heard out of the light, which gave order for the trans- 
figuring it again into the shape of some more mild and 
gentle creature ; and so they made it to resemble one of 
those creatures that usually sing and croak about the sides 
of ponds and marshes. For indeed he had in some meas- 
ure been punished for the crimes he had committed ; be- 
sides, there was some compassion due to him from the 
Gods, for that he had restored the Grecians to their liberty, 
a nation the most noble and best beloved of the Gods 
among all his subjects. And now being about to return, 
such a terrible dread surprised Thespesius as had al- 
most frighted him out of his wits. For a certain woman, 
admirable for her form and stature, laying hold of his arm, 
said to him : Come hither, that thou mayst the better be 
enabled to retain the remembrance of what thou hast seen. 
With that she was about to strike him with a small fiery 
wand, not much unlike to those that painters use ; but 
another woman prevented her. After this, as he thought 
himself, he was whirled or hurried away with a strong and 
violent wind, forced as it were through a pipe ; and so 
lighting again into his own body, he awoke and found 
himself on the brink of his own grave. 


1. Appeals to foreign judicatures first came in request 
among the Grecians out of their distrust of one another's 
justice, they deeming it as requisite to fetch justice from 
abroad, as any other necessary commodity which was not 
of their own growth. And is it not even so that philoso- 
phers, by reason of dissensions amongst themselves, have 
in the decision of some questions appealed to the nature 
of irmtional beings, as to a strange city, and have submit- 
ted the final determination of such questions to the affec- 
tions or to the dispositions of brutes, as being unbiassed and 
not corrupted by bribes ] Or else this is the general com- 
plaint of human frailty, that while we differ about the 
most necessary and the greatest things, we consult horses, 
dogs, and birds, how we should marry, beget children, and 
bring them up ; and, as if the evidence of Nature in our- 
selves were not to be trusted, we appeal to the dispositions 
and affections of brute beasts, and testify against the mani- 
fold transgressions of our own lives, intimating how at 
the very first and in the first things we are confounded and 
disturbed. For Nature conserves the propriety in them 
pure, unmixed, and simple ; but in men, the mixture of 
ascititious opinions and judgments (as oil is served by the 
druggists) alters the properties, and does not preserve what 
is their peculiar. Nor need we wonder if irrational ani- 


mals follow Nature more than rational ; for plants 
more than animals, for they have neither imagination nor 
passion for what is not according to Nature, but are bound 
in chains, and ever go that one Avay that Nature leads 
them. Brutes do little regard gentleness, wit, or liberty ; 
they have indeed the use of irrational incitements and ap- 
petites, which put them upon Avandering and running 
about, — but seldom far, for they seem to lie at the anchor 
of Nature, who guides them in the right way (as it were) 
by bit and bridle. But reason, the lord and master in man, 
finds sometimes one turning, sometimes another ; but in all 
its wanderings leaves no mark or footstep of Nature. 

2. But in brutes observe how all things are accommo- 
dated to Nature. As to marriages, they tarry not till laws 
are passed against celibacy and late marriages, as Lycurgus 
and Solon's citizens did ; they matter not the disgrace of 
wanting children ; nor are they ambitious of the honor of 
having three children, as many Romans, who marry and 
get children, not that they may have heirs, but that they 
may get estates. Again, the male accompanies with the 
female not at all times, because not pleasure but procrea- 
tion is his end. Therefore in the spring time, when the 
fruitful breezes blow and the air is of a pregnant temper, 
then the female approaches the male, gentle and desirable, 
wantoning in the sweet smell and peculiar ornament of 
her body, full of dew and pure grass ; and when she per- 
ceives she has conceived, she modestly departs, and pro- 
vides for her bringing forth and for the safety of what she 
shall be delivered of. What brutes do cannot be sufficiently 
expressed ; in all of them their affection to their young is 
evident by their providence, patience, and continence. In- 
deed we call the bee wise, and we celebrate her who " de- 
viseth the yellow honey," flattering her for glutting us with 
her sweetness ; but the wisdom and art of other creatures, 
about their bringing forth and the rearing their young, we 


wholly neglect. For instance, first, the king-fisher, when 
she has conceived, makes her nest of the prickles of the 
sea-needle, weaving them one among another, in form of a 
long oval fishing-net ; then she puts it under the dashing 
of the waters, that being by degrees beaten upon and 
milled, it may acquire a smooth surface, and become so 
solid that it cannot easily be divided by either stone or iron. 
And what is more wonderful, the mouth of the nest is so 
exactly fitted to the king-fisher, that neither a greater nor 
a less animal can enter it; and when she is in (as they 
say) it will not admit the sea-water. The sea-fish called 
yal^ol give birth to their young within themselves, let them 
go abroad to feed, and then take them into their bellies 
again when they go to sleep. The bear, a most fierce and 
ugly beast, brings forth her young shapeless and without 
limbs, but with her tongue, as with a tool, she shapes the 
members ; so that she seems not only to bring forth but to 
work out her young. And Homer's lioness, — 

Thus in tlie centre of some gloomy Avood, 

With many a step tlie lioness surrounds 

Her tawny young, beset by men and liounds ; 

Elate her heart, and rousing all her powers, 

Dark o'er the fiery balls each hanging eyebrow lowers;* 

does she not, I say, look as if she were contriving how to 
make a bargain with the huntsman for her whelps 1 For 
generally the love of their young makes bold creatures 
timorous, the slothful industrious, and the voracious par- 
simonious. So Homer's bird " gives to her young, though 
with herself it go hard."f She feeds them by starving 
herself, and when she has taken up her food, she lays it 
down again, and keeps it down with her bill, lest she 
should swallow it unawares. In like manner, 

For tender whelps, when strangers come in sight, 
The barking bitch prepares herself to fight; J 

* II. XVII. 134. t II. IX. 824. X Odyss. XX. 14. 


and fear for her young turns into a second passion. When 
partridges and their young are pursued, the old suffer the 
young to fly away before, so contriving it that the fowler 
may think to catch them. Thus they hover about, run 
forward a little, then turn again, and so detain the fowler 
till their young are safe. We daily behold hens, how they 
cherish their chickens, taking some of them under their 
spread wings, suffering others of them to run upon their 
backs, and taking them in again, with a voice expressing 
kindness and joy. When themselves are concerned, they fly 
from dogs and serpents ; but to defend their chickens, they 
will venture beyond their strength and fight. 

2\nd shall w^e think that Nature has bred such affections 
in these creatures, because she is solicitous for the propa- 
gation of hens, dogs, and bears, and not that she may by 
these means make us ashamed ? Certainly we must con- 
clude that these creatures, following the duct of nature, 
are for our example, and that they much upbraid the re- 
morselessness of humanity, of which human nature alone 
is culpable, in not being capable of gratuitous love, nor 
knowing how to be a friend without profit. Well there- 
fore might the comedian be admired who said. For reward 
only man loves man. Epicurus thinks that after this man- 
ner children are beloved of their parents, and parents of 
their children. But if the benefit of speech were allowed 
to brutes, and if horses, cows, dogs^ and birds were brought 
upon the stage, and the song were changed, and it were 
said that neither the bitch loved her whelps for gain, nor 
the mare her foal, nor fowls their chickens, but that they 
were all beloved gratis and by impulse of nature, then by 
the affection of all brutes this assertion would be approved 
as just and true. And is it not a shame, that the procrea- 
tion of beasts, their birth, pains in birth, and their educa- 
tion, should be by nature and gratis, and yet for these 
things that man should require usury, rewards, and bribes l 



3. This assertion, as to pure Nature, can never be true, 
nor ought it to be believed. For, as in wild plants, such 
' as wild vines, figs, and olives. Nature has implanted the 
principles of cultivated fruit, though crude and imperfect ; 
so she has endowed beasts with a love of their young, 
though imperfect and not attaining to justice, nor proceed- 
ing further than utihty. But in man, whom she produced 
a rational and political being, inclining him to justice, law, 
religion, building of cities, and friendship, she hath placed 
the seed of those things that are generous, fair, and fruitful, 
— that is, the love of their children, — following the first 
principles which entered into the very constitution of their 
bodies. For terms and expressions are wanting to declare 
with what industry Nature — who is skilful, unerring, and 
not to be surpassed, and (as Erasistratus says) has nothing 
idle or frivolous — has contrived all things pertaining to 
the procreation of mankind ; and modesty will not permit 
it. The making and economy of milk sufficiently speak 
her providence and care. In women what abundance of 
blood more than serves for necessary uses, which, through 
languidness and want of spirit, wanders about and disturbs 
the body ; being at other times by Nature in monthly periods 
discharged by proper canals and passages, for the relief 
and purgation of the body, and to render the womb like a 
field fit for the plough and seed, and desirous of it at 
seasons. But when the womb has caught the seed, and it 
has taken root (for the navel as .Uemocritus says, grows 
first, like an anchor to keep the foetus from fluctuating, or 
as a stay or footstalk to the child), then Nature stops the 
passages proper for monthly purgations, and keeps the 
superfluous blood after that for nourishment and to moisten 
the birth, which now begins to be formed and fashioned, 
and at the end of a set number of days increases so in the 
womb, that it must seek another place and other sort of 
food. Then Nature, more diligent than any husbandman, 

VOL. IV. 18 


deriving the blood to other uses, has as it were some sub- 
terranean fountains, which receive the affluent liquors ; 
and they receive them not negligently nor without affection, 
but with a gentle heat and womanish softness they concoct, 
mollify, and alter them ; for in this manner are the breasts 
internally affected and tempered. And milk is not poured 
out of them by pipes in a full stream ; but the breasts, 
terminating in flesh that is pervious by small and insen- 
sible passages, do afford store of sweet and pleasant suck- 
ing to the infant's mouth. But for all this, such and so 
many instruments for procreation, such preparation, so 
great industry and providence, were all to no purpose, 
unless Nature had inbred in the mothers a love and care 
of their offspring. 

Than man more wretched naught takes breath, 
Not th' vilest thing that creeps on earth ; * 

which infallibly holds good of infants new-born. For 
nothing can be beheld so imperfect, helpless, naked, shape- 
less, and nasty, as man is just at his birth ; to whom alone 
almost Nature has denied a cleanly passage into the world ; 
and as he is smeared with blood, and daubed with filth, 
more like to one killed than to one new-born, he could 
never be touched, taken in arms, kissed, or hugged by any 
one to whom Nature had not given an inbred affection for 
him. Therefore other animals have their dugs below their 
belly, which grow on woman above her breast, that she 
may the more conveniently kiss, embrace, and cherish her 
infant ; because the end of bringing forth and rearing is 
not necessity but love. 

4. For let us look back to ancient times, to those who 
first brought forth and who first saw a child born. Upon 
them certainly no law enjoined any necessity of rearing 
their offspring, nor could expectation of thanks oblige 
them to feed their infants, as if it were for usury. Nay, 

* n. XVII. 446. 



rather, they were angry with their children, and long re- 
membered the injuries they had received from them, as 
authors of so many dangers and of so much pain and travail 
to them. 

As when keen darts tlie fierce Ilithyiae send ; 

The powers that cause the teeming matron's throes, 

Sad motliers of unutterable woes ! * 

These verses, some say, were not written by Homer, but 
by some Homeress, who either had been or was then in 
travail, and felt the very pangs in her bowels. Yet the 
love implanted by Nature melts and sways the childbed 
woman. While she is still in a sweat and trembling for 
pain, she is not averse to her infimt ; but turns it to her^ 
smiles on it, hugs and kisses it. Though she finds no true 
sweetness, nor yet profit, however, " she sometimes rocks it 
in a warm cradle, sometimes she dances it in the cool air, 
turning one toil into another, resting neither night nor day." 
For what reward or gain was all this ] For as little 
then as now ; for the hopes are uncertain and far off. He 
that plants a vine in the vernal equinox gathers grapes 
upon it in the autumnal. He that sows wheat at the set- 
ting of the Pleiades reaps it at their rising. Cows, mares, 
and birds bring forth young ready for use. Man's 
education is laborious, his increase slow, his virtue lies at 
a distance ; so that most parents die before their children 
show their virtue. Neocles never saw Themistocles's vic- 
tory at Salamis, nor Miltiades the valor of Cimon at Eiu-ym- 
cdon ; Xanthippus never heard Pericles pleading ; nor 
Aristo Plato philosophizing ; nor did the fathers of Eurip- 
ides and Sophocles know the victories their sons won, 
though they heard them indeed stammering and learning 
to talk. It is the mishap of fathers to see the revelling, 
drinking, and love intrigues of their children ; to which 
purpose that of Evenus is memorable, 

 n. XL 269. 


Terror or grief unto his father's heart 
A son must ever be. 

And yet men find no end of rearing of children ; they 
pecially who have no need of them. For it is ridiculous 
to think that rich men, when they have children bom to 
them, sacrifice and rejoice that they may have some to 
maintain and to bury them. Or is it perhaps that they 
bring up children for want of heirs, because, forsooth, men" 
cannot be found to accept of another man's estate ? " Sand^ 
dust, and the feathers of all the birds in the world, are not; 
so numerous " as heirs are to other men's estates. Danaus 
was the father of fifty daughters ; but if he had wanted 
issue, he might have had many more heirs. The case is 
far otherwise with children ; they make not acknowledg- 
ments nor curry favor nor pay their devotions, as expecting 
the inheritance of due. But you may hear strangers who 
hang about them that have no heirs, talking like the co- 
median : 

Demos, having after judgment bathed, 
Drink, eat a morsel, take three oboli.* 

And what Euripides said, 

'Tis money that procures us friends to choose. 
And mightiest power o'er all things that men use, 

does not universally hold true, but of such only as have 
no children. To such the rich give banquets, such great 
men honor, and for such only lawyers plead gratis. " A 
rich man who has no known heir can do great matters." 
Many a man who has had a great number of friends and 
followers, as soon as he has had a child, has been divested 
of all his alliances and power. So that children do not 
augment a man's power ; but their whole power over their 
parents' affection is due to Nature, and is shown no less 
in men than in beasts. 

5. But this natural affection, like many other good qual- 

* Arlstoph. Knights, 60. 


ities in men, may be choked and obscured by vices ; as 
when a wild forest is sown with garden-seeds. Can we 
say that man loves not himself, because some hang them- 
selves, others break their own necks, Oedipus put out his 
own eyes,* and Hegesias, by his disputation, persuaded 
many of his auditors to pine themselves to death ? 

For fatal things in various shapes do walk, t 

But all these things are disease and craziness of mind, 
transporting a man out of his own nature ; and in this 
men testify against themselves. For if a sow or a bitch 
kill the young they have brought forth, men look dejected, 
are disturbed, sacrifice to the Gods to avert the mischief, 
and do account it a miracle ; because men know that Na- 
ture has implanted in all creatures the love of their young, 
so that they should feed them and not kill them. For as 
among metals gold, though mixed with much rubbish, will 
appear ; so Nature, even in vicious deeds and affection, de- 
clares the love to posterity. For poor people do not rear 
their children, fearing that, if they should not be well edu- 
cated, they would prove slavish, clownish, and destitute of all 
things commendable ; since they cannot endure to entail 
poverty, which they look upon as the worst of all evils or 
diseases, upon their posterity. 

 Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1276. t Eurip. Alcestis, 1159. 


1. Among the many warm disputes which have often 
happened between Virtue and Fortune, this concerning the 
Roman empire is none of the least considerable, whether of 
them shall have the honor of founding that empire at first, 
and raising it afterwards to vast power and glory. The 
victory in this cause will be no small commendation of the 
conqueror, and will sufficiently vindicate either of the con- 
tending parties from the allegations that are usually made 
against it. For Virtue is accused as unprofitable, though 
beautiful, and Fortune as unstable, though good ; the for- 
mer as laboring in vain, the latter as deceitful in its gifts. 
But who can deny but Virtue has been most profitable, if 
Rome does favor her cause in this contention, since she 
procured so much good to brave and gallant men ; or that 
Fortune is most constant, if she be victorious in this con- 
test, since she continued her gifts with the Romans for so 
long a time ? , 

Ion the poet has written somewhere in prose, that For- 
tune and Wisdom, though they be very much different from 
one another, are nevertheless the causes of the very same 
effects. Both of them do advance and adorn men ; both 
do raise them to glory, power, and empire. It were need- 
less to multiply instances by a long enumeration of par- 
ticulars, when even Nature itself, which produces all 
things, is by some reputed Fortune, and by others Wis- 
dom. And therefore the present controversy will con- 


ciliate great honor and veneration to the city of Rome, 
since she is thought worthy of the same enquiry which 
uses to be made concerning the earth and seas, the heav- 
ens and the stars, — whether she owes her being to For- 
tune or to Providence. 

2. In which question, I think it may be truly affirmed 
that, notwithstanding the fierce and lasting wars which 
have been between Virtue and Fortune, they did both ami- 
cably conspire to rear up the structure of her vast empire 
and power, and join their united endeavors to finish the 
most beautiful work that ever was of human production. 
It was the opinion of Plato, that the whole world was 
composed of fire and earth, as necessary first principles, 
which being mixed together did render it visible and tangi- 
ble, — the earth contributing weight and firmness, while 
the fire gave color, form, and motion to the several parts 
of matter ; but for the tempering and union of these ex- 
tremes, he thought it necessary that the water and air, 
being of a middle nature, should mitigate and rebate the 
contrary force by composition. After the same manner 
did God and Time, who laid the foundations of Eome, con- 
join and mingle Virtue and Fortune together, that by the 
union of their several powers, they might compose a 
Vesta, truly sacred and beneficent to all men, which should 
be a firm stay, an eternal support, and a steady anchor (as 
Democritus calls it) amidst the fluctuating and uncertain 
afi'airs of human life. For as naturalists say, that the 
world was not framed at first into that beautiful order and 
structure in which we now behold it, nor would these 
several bodies that compose it unite and mix so that Na- 
ture might receive a common form by their union,, but that 
all things did fluctuate a long while in confusion and 
crashing, — whilst some bodies were still small and vari- 
ously moved, and slipped and avoided all seizure and 
connections, and others which were greater and already 



compacted, being of contrary natures, did frequently justle 
and jar one against another, — and that all was full of de- 
struction and confusion and wreck, until such time as the 
earth, being framed of them both in its due magnitude, 
was established in its proper place, and by its stability 
gave occasion to all the other bodies of the universe either 
to settle upon it or round about it ; just so it happened to 
the greatest kingdoms and empires of men, which were 
long tossed with various changes and broken in pieces by 
mutual clashings. And for want of one supreme ruler 
over all, while all aspired to rule, the world was filled with 
unspeakable violence, confusion, and revolution in all 
things, until such time as Kome was raised to its just 
strength and greatness, which, comprehending under her 
power many strange nations and even transmarine domin- 
ions, did lay the foundation of firmness and stability to 
the greatest of human aff*airs ; for by this vast compass of 
one and the same empire, government was secured as in 
an unmovable circle, resting upon the centre of peace. 
Whosoever therefore contrived and compassed these great 
designs must not only have been endowed with all virtues, 
but likewise have been assisted by Fortune in many things ; 
as will plainly appear from the following discourse. 

3. And now methinks I behold, as from a turret, Virtue 
and Fortune coming to this conference. As to Virtue, her 
gait is modest, her countenance grave, the blushing color 
of her face shows her earnest desire of obtaining victory 
and honor in this contest. Fortune in her hasty pace, 
leaves her far behind, but she is led and accompanied by 
many brave and gallant men, 

A martial host, ghastly with bloody arms,  

all wounded in the fore part of their bodies, distilling blood 
mingled with sweat, and they lean upon the bending spoils 

* Odyss. XI. 41. 


of their enemies. If you enquire who they are, they 
answer, We are of the Fabricii, Camilli, and Lucii, and 
Cincinnati, and Fabii Maximi, and Claudii Marcelli, and 
the Scipios. I perceive also in the train of Virtue Caius 
Marius angry with Fortune, and Mucins Scaevola holding 
out his burning hand and crying with a loud voice, Will 
ye attribute this to Fortune also ? And Marcus lioratius, 
who behaved himself gallantly at the river Tiber, when he 
cut the bridge and swam over, being loaded with Tyr- 
rhenian darts, showing his wounded thigh, thus expostulates 
from out of the deep whirlpit of the river, Was I also 
thus maimed by mere chance? Such is the company of 
Virtue, when she comes to the dispute ; " a company 
poAverful in arms, terrible to their foes." 

4. But as to Fortune, her gait is hasty, her looks bold, 
her hope arrogant ; and leaving Virtue far behind her, she 
enters the lists, not, as she is described, with light wings, 
balancing herself in the air, or lightly tripping with her 
tiptoes upon the convexity of the globe, as if she w^ere 
presently to vanish away out of sight. No, she does not 
appear here in any such doubtful and uncertain posture ; 
but as the Spartans say that Venus, when she passed over 
the Eurotas, put off her gewgaws and female ornaments, 
and armed herself with spear and shield for the sake of 
Lycurgus ; so Fortune, having deserted the Persians and 
Assyrians, did swiftly fly over Macedonia, and quickly 
threw off her favorite Alexander the Great, and after that, 
having passed through the countries of Egypt and Syria, 
and oftentimes by turns supported the Carthaginians, she 
did at last fly over Tiber to the Palatine Mount, and there 
she put off her wings, her Mercurial shoes, and left her 
slippery and deceitful globe. Thus she entered Eome, as 
one that was to be resident there, and thus she comes to 
the bar in this controversy. She is no more uncertain, as 
Pindar describes her ; she does not henceforth guide a 


double helm, but continues constant to the Eomans, and 
therefore may be called the sister of Eunomia and Persua- 
sion, and the daughter of Providence, as Alcman describes 
her pedigree. This is certain in the opinion of all men. 
that she holds in her hand the Horn of Plenty, not that 
which is filled with verdant fruits, but that which pours 
forth abundance of all things which the earth or the sea, 
the rivers or the metals, or the harbors afford. Several 
illustrious and famous men are seen to accompany her, 
Numa Pompilius from the Sabines, and Priscus from Tar- 
quinii, w^hom, being foreigners and strangers. Fortune 
seated on the throne of Romulus. Aemilius Paulus also, 
bringing back his army from Perseus and the Macedonians, 
and triumphing in an unbloody and entire victory, does 
greatly magnify and extol Fortune. The same does Cae- 
ciliiis Metellus, that brave old gentleman surnamed Mace- 
donicus, whose corpse was carried forth to its funeral by 
his four sons, Quintus Balearicus, Lucius Diadematus, 
Marcus Metellus, and Caius Caprarius, and his two sons- 
in-law, — who were all six honorable men, and of consu- 
lar dignity, — and also by his two grandsons, who were 
famous for the good offices they did to the commonwealth, 
both abroad by their heroical actions and at home by the 
administration of justice. Aemilius Scaurus, from a mean 
estate and a meaner family, was raised by Fortune to that 
height of dignity that he Avas chosen Prince of the Senate. 
It was Fortune that took Cornelius Sylla out of the bosom 
of Nicopolis the whore, and exalted him above tlie Cim- 
brian triumphs of Marius and the dignity of his seven 
consulships, giving him at once the powers of a monarch 
and a dictator ; upon which account he adopted himself 
and all his memorable actions to Fortune, crying out with 
Oedipus in Sophocles, I think myself the son of For- 
tune.* In the Roman tongue he was called Felix, the 

* Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1080. 


happy ; but he writ himself to the Greeks Lucius Cor- 
nelius Sylla Venustus, i. e. Beloved of Venus, — which is 
also the inscription on all his trophies, both those at Chae- 
ronea with us, and those in honor of his victories over 
Mithridates ; and that not without reason, since it is not 
the Night, as Menander thought, but Fortune, that enjoys 
the greatest ]iixvt of Venus. 

5. And thus, having made a seasonable beginning m 
defence of Fortune, we may now call in, for witnesses in 
this cause, the Romans themselves, who attributed more 
to Fortune than to Virtue. For the temple of Virtue was 
but lately built by Scipio Numantinus, a long time after 
the building of the city. And after that, Marcellus dedi- 
cated a temple to Virttie and Honor ; and Aemilius Scau- 
rus, who lived in the time of the Cimbrian war, founded 
another to the Mind, when now, by the subtilties of sophis- 
ters and encomiastics of orators, these things began to be 
mightily extolled. And to this very day there is no temple 
built to Wisdom, nor to Temperance, Patience, Magna- 
nimity, or Continence. On the contrary, the temples dedi- 
cated to Fortune are splendid and ancient, almost as old as 
the first foundations of Eome itself. The first that built 
her a temple was Ancus Marcius, born of the sister of 
Numa, being the third king from Eomulus ; and he seems 
to have made Fortune surname to Fortitude, to which she 
contributes very much for obtaining victory. The Romans 
built the temple of Feminine Fortune before the time of 
Camillus, when by the help of the women they turned 
back Marcius Coriolanus, leading up the Volsci against the 
city of Rome ; for the women being sent ambassadors to 
him, together with his mother and wife, prevailed with the 
man to spare the city at that time and to draw ofi" the 
army of tlie barbarians. It is said that this statue of For- 
tune, when it was consecrated, uttered these words : It was 
piously done, O ye city matrons, to dedicate me by the law 


of your state. But (which is more remarkable) Furius 
Camillus, having quenched the flame of the Gallic war, 
and rescued E-ome from the balance and scales in which 
her price was Aveighed to them in gold, did not upon this 
occasion found a temple to Prudence and Fortitude, but to 
Fame and Presage ; which he built hard by the New Way, 
in that very place where (it is said) Marcus Caedicius walk- 
ing in the night-time heard a prophetical voice, command- 
ing him shortly to expect a war from the Gauls. And the 
Fortune whose temple is near the river they call Fortis 
(that is, stout, or valiant, or manly), as having the power 
of conquering all things.* And her temple is built in 
those very gardens which were left by Caesar as a legacy 
to the people, because they thought that he also was raised 
to the height of power by the favor of Fortune. 

6. And so Caesar himself testified, otherwise I should 
be ashamed to say such a thing of so great a person. For 
when he loosed from Brundisium, and embarked in pur- 
suit of Pompey, on the fourth day of January, though it 
was then the latter end of winter, he passed over the sea 
in safety by the good conduct of Fortune, which was 
stronger than the rigor of the season. And when he 
found Pompey powerful by sea and land, with all his 
forces lying together, and himself with his small party 
altogether unable to give him battle, while the army of 
Antonius and Sabinus lagged behind, he ventured to set 
forth again in a little bark, unknown either to the master 
of the vessel or the pilot, who took him for some servant. 
But when he saw the pilot began to change his purpose 
of putting out to sea, because of the violence of the waves, 

* The temple built in Caesar's gardens was a temple of Fors Fortuna ; and as 
this name appeared most frequently in the genitive, Fortis Fortunae, Plutarch prob- 
ably mistook the title for Fortis, which he translates by uvdpeia. As the gardens 
of Caesar were trans Tiberim, Plutarch cannot refer to the temple still standing in the 
Forum Boarium, generally called that of Fortuna Virilis(?). See Becker's Kum« 
ische Altertlmmer, I. pp. 478-480, note. (G.) 


which hmdered the sailing out at the mouth of the river, 
he presently plucked off the disguise from his head and 
showed himself, encouraging the pilot in these words : Put 
on, brave fellow, and fear nothing, but commit the sails to 
Fortune, and expose all boldly to the winds ; for thou ear- 
nest Caesar and Caesar's fortune. So resolute Avas Caesar 
upon this assurance, that Fortune did favor him in his 
voyages and journeys, his armies and battles ; and that it 
was her province to give calmness to the sea and warmth 
to a winter season, to give swiftness to the slowest, and 
vigor to the most sluggish creatures ; and (which is more 
incredible than all this) he believed that Fortune put Pom- 
pey to flight, and gave Ptolemy the opportunity of mur- 
dering his guest, so that Pompey should fall and Caesar 
be innocent. 

7. What shall I say of his son, the first that had the 
honor to be surnamed Augustus, who was emperor four 
and fifty years ? Did not he pray the Gods for his grand- 
son, when he sent him forth to battle, to grant him the 
courage of Scipio, and the wdsdom of Pompey, but his 
own Fortune, as counting her the chief artificer of his 
wonderful self? It was she that imposed him upon Cicero, 
Lepidus, Pansa, Hirtius, and Mark Antony, and by their 
victories and famous exploits, by their navies, battles, and 
armies, raised him to the greatest height of power and 
honor, degrading them by whose means he was thus ad- 
vanced. For it was for him that Cicero governed the 
state, Lepidus conducted the armies, and Pansa gained the 
victories. It was for him that Hirtius fell, and Mark An- 
tony committed licentious outrages. Nay, even Cleopatra 
herself is to be reckoned as part of his good fortune ; for 
on her, as on a dangerous rock, Antony was shipwrecked, 
although he was so mighty a commander, that Augustus 
alone might wear the title of Caesar. It is reported of 
Antony and Augustus, when they lived familiarly together 


in daily conversation, that Antony was always beaten 
Caesar at ball or dice, and in quail or cock fighting. 
Whereupon a certain friend, who pretended to the art of 
divination, did freely admonish Antony, and say : " What 
have you to do, my friend, with this young man 1 Why 
don't you avoid his company? You excel him in glory 
and largeness of empire, you exceed him in age and expe- 
rience, having signalized your valor in the wars. But your 
Genius is afraid of his ; your Fortune, which is great by 
itself, does fawn upon his, and will undoubtedly pass over 
to him, unless you remove yourself to a great distance." 

8. By these testimonies of men the cause of Fortune is 
supported ; after which I proceed now to other arguments 
taken from the things themselves, beginning from the first 
foundations of the city of Rome. And first of all, it can- 
not be denied that, by the birth and preservation of Ro- 
mulus, by his education and growth, the foundations of 
Rome were first laid by Fortune ; but then withal it must 
be acknowledged that Virtue finished the building. As to 
their origin and birth who first founded and built the city, 
it looked like a wonderful good Fortune. For it is said 
that their mother conceived by a God ; and as Hercules is 
said to have been sown in a long night, the natural day 
being preternaturally prolonged by the sun's standing still ; 
so it is reported concerning the begetting of Romulus, that 
the sun was eclipsed at the time, being in conjunction with 
the moon, as the immortal God Mars was with the mortal 
Sylvia. The same is said to have happened about the time 
of his death. For on the seventh of July, called Nonae 
Capratinae, which is a feast observed to this day with great 
solemnity, while the sun was under an eclipse, he suddenly 
vanished out of the sight of men. After their nativity, 
when the tyrant would have murdered the new-born babes, 
by the conduct of Fortune, who was concerned for the 
preservation of their lives, Romulus and Remus fell into 


the hands of a servant no ways barbarous and cruel, but 
pitiful and tender-hearted, who laid them on the pleasant 
green bank of a river, in a place shaded with lowly shrubs, 
near to that wild fig-tree, to which the name of Ruminalis 
was afterwards given. There it was that a she-wolf, hav- 
ing lost her young whelps, by chance lighted on them, and 
beh.g burdened with her swollen dugs, inflamed for want 
of evacuation, she gladly let out her overheated milk, as 
if it had been a second birth, and suckled the young 
children. The woodpecker also, a bird sacred to Mars, 
came often unto them, and supporting herself upon one 
claw, she did by turns open both their mouths with the 
other, and distribute unto each of them convenient gobbets 
of her own food. This fig-tree was therefore called Ku- 
minalis, from Kuma, the dug^ which the wolf lying down 
there gave to the infants. And from a veneration of this 
strange chance of Eomulus and of every thing resembling 
it, the inhabitants thereabout would not expose any of 
their offspring ; but they carefully reared and fostered all 
new births. 

Above all things, the hidden craft of Fortune appeared 
in their education at the city Gabii ; for there they were 
secretly nursed and brought up, and the people knew 
nothing of their pedigree, that they were the sons of Sylvia 
and the grandchildren of king Numitor; which seems to 
be so ordered on purpose to prevent that untimely death 
which the knowledge of their royal race would occasion, 
and to give them opportunity of showing themselves here- 
after by their famous exploits, and discovering the nobility 
of their extraction by their heroical actions. And this 
brings to my mind the saying of that great and wise com- 
mander Themistocles to some of the Athenian captains, 
who, having followed him in the wars with good success, 
were grown ambitious to be preferred above him. There 
was an eager contest, said he, between the festival day and 


the day following, for precedency. Thou, says the follow- 
ing day, art full of tumult and business, but I give men the 
peaceful opportunity of enjoying themselves. Ay, says 
the festival, that's true ; but then, I pray you, tell me, if I 
had not been, where had you been? So, says Themistocles, 
if I had not preserved my country in the war with the 
Medes, what use would there be of you now? And after 
this manner Fortune seems to accost the virtue of Romulus : 
it is true indeed, your actions are great and famous, by 
which you have clearly shown that you are descended of 
the race of the Gods. But see now how far you come 
behind me. For if I had not relieved the infants in their 
distress by my bounty and humanity, if I had deserted and 
betrayed them when they lay naked and exposed, how 
could you have appeared with such lustre and splendor as 
now you do? If a she- wolf had not then lighted upon 
them, inflamed with the abundance and pressure of her 
milk, which wanted one to give food unto more than any 
food for herself; if some wild beast had happened to come 
in her stead, hungry and ravaging for meat ; then there 
had been no such beautiful and stately palaces, temples, 
theatres, walks, courts, and forum, as now you justly glory 
of; .then your followers had still been shepherds, and your 
buildings cottages or stables, and they had still lived in 
subjection to the Albanian, Tyrrhenian, or Latin lords. 
Certainly the first beginning of all things is of greatest 
importance, and more especially in building of a city. But 
it was Fortune that first gave a beginning to Rome, by pre- 
serving the founder of it in so many dangers to which he 
was exposed. For as Virtue made Romulus great, so For- 
tune preserved him till his virtue did appear. 

9. It is confessed by all, that the reign of Numa, which 
lasted longest, was conducted by a wonderful good fortune. 
For as to the story of the wise goddess Egeria, one of the 
.Dryades, — that she being in love conversed familiarly with 


liim, and assisted him in laying the platform and cementing 
the frame of the commonwealth, — it appears to be rather 
fabulous than true, since there were others that had God- 
desses for their wives and are said to have been loved by 
them, such as Peleus, Anchises, Orion, and Emathion, who, 
for all that, did not live so pleasantly and free from trouble. 
But Numa seems to have had good fortune for his domestic 
companion and colleague in the government, which, re- 
ceiving the city of E-ome into her protection, at such time 
as she was tossed like a troublesome sea by the wars of 
neighboring states, and inflamed with intestine feuds, did 
quickly heal those breaches and allay those storms that 
threatened her ruin. And as the sea is said to receive the 
halcyon brood in a tempest, which it preserves and nour- 
ishes ; so the people of Rome being lately gathered to- 
gether, after various commotions and tossings, were by 
Fortune delivered from all wars, diseases, dangers, and 
terrors, and settled in such a lasting peace, that they had 
time and leisure to take root in their new soil and grow 
up securely into a well-compacted city. For as a great 
ship or galley is not made without many blows, and much 
force from hammers, nails, wedges, saws, and axes, and 
being once built, it must rest for some time upon the stocks, 
until the bands of its structure grow strong and tenacious, 
and the nails be well fastened which hold its parts to- 
gether, lest, being launched while it is loose and unsettled, 
the hulk should be shattered by the concussion of the 
waves and let in the water, — so the first artificer of Rome, 
having built the city of rustical men and shepherds, as on 
strong foundations, was forced to endure hard labor and 
maintain dangerous wars against those who opposed its 
first origination and institution ; but after it was once 
framed and compacted by this force, the second artificer, 
by the benignity of Fortune, gave it so long rest and peace, 
till all its parts were consolidated and settled in a firm and 

VOL. IV. 14 



lasting posture. But if at that time, when the city was 
newly built, some Porsena had advanced the Etruscan 
camp and army to the walls, being yet moist and trembling, 
or some warlike revolter of the Marsian grandees, or some 
envious and contentious Lucanian, such as in latter times 
were Mutius or the bold Silo, or the last plague of Sylla's 
faction, Telesinus, who with one alarm armed all Italy, — 
if any of these, I say, had encompassed the philosopher 
Numa with the sound of trumpets, while he was sacrificing 
and praying to the Gods, the city being yet unsettled and 
unfinished, he could never have resisted so great a torrent 
and tempest, nor increased unto so great numbers of stout 
and valiant men. 

That long time of peace therefore in Numa's reign did 
prepare and fortify the Romans against all the wars which M 
happened afterwards ; for by its continuance, during the ^ 
space of forty-three years, the body of the people was 
confirmed in that athletic habit which they acquired in the 
war under Eomulus, and which generally prevailed hence- M 
forward against all their enemies. For in these years they 
say Rome was not afflicted with famine or pestilence, with 
barrenness of the earth, or any notable calamity by winter 
or summer ; all which must be attributed, not to human 
prudence, but to the good conduct of divine Fortune gov- 
erning for that time. Then the double gate of Janus was 
shut, which they call the gate of war, because it is always 
opened in time of war and shut in time of peace. After 
Numa's death, it was opened again when the war with 
the Albans commenced, which was followed with other 
wars without number in a continued series of time ; but 
after four hundred and eighty years, it was shut again 
when peace was concluded at the end of the first Punic 
war, in the consulship of Caius Atilius and Titus Manlius. 
The next year it was opened again, and the wars lasted 
until the victory which Augustus obtained at Actium. 


Then the Ho man arms rested but a little while ; for the 
tumults from Cantabria and the wars with the Gauls and 
Germans breaking in upon them quickly disturbed the 
peace. These things I have added to explain this argu- 
ment of the good fortune of Numa. 

10. Even those kings which followed him have admired 
Fortune as the governess and nurse of Rome, and the city 
supporter, as Pindar saith. For proof of this, we may 
consider that the temple of Virtue at Home was but lately 
built, many years after the beginning of the city, by that 
Marcellus who took Syracuse.* There is also a temple 
dedicated to the Mind, or rather to good counsel, called 
Mens, by Scaurus Aemilius, who lived in the time of the 
Cimbrian war, when the arms of rhetoric and the sophistry 
of logic had crept into the city. And even to this day, 
there are no temples built to Wisdom, Temperance, 
Patience, and Magnanimity ; but the temples of Fortune 
are very ancient and splendid, adorned with all sorts of 
honors, and divided amongst the most famous parts and 
places of Rome. The temple of Manly Fortune was built 
by Ancus Marcius, the fourth king ; which name was 
therefore given it, because Fortune does contribute very 
much to valor in obtaining victory. The temple of Femi- 
nine Fortune was consecrated by the matrons, when they 
drove away Marcius Coriolanus at the head of an army 
marching against Kome, as everybody knows. Moreover, 
Servius Tullius, who above all the kings did most enlarge 
the power of the people and adorn the commonwealth, 
who first established a good order for the giving of suffrages 
and for the good discipline of the militia, who was the first 
censor and overseer of men's lives and sobriety, and is 
esteemed a most wise and valiant man, — even he threw 
himself upon Fortune, and owned his kingdom to be de- 
rived from her. So great was her kindness to him, that 

* Much that follows is a repetition of Chapter Fifth. (Q.) 


she is thought to have descended into his house by a gateway 
(which is now called Fenestella) and there to have con- 
versed familiarly with him. Upon which account he built 
two temples to Fortune, one to that which is called Primo- 
genia in the Capitol, i. e. the first born, as one may expound 
it; another to that which is called Obsequens, which some 
interpret as being obsequious to his desires, and others as 
mild and gentle. 1 will henceforth leave the Homan 
names, and endeavor to reckon up and interpret in Greek 
the meaning of these temples. There is the temple of 
Private Fortune on the Mount Palatine, and that of Viscous 
Fortune ; which name, though it seems ridiculous, does by 
a metaphor explain to rfs the nature of Fortune, that she 
attracts things at a distance, and retains them when they 
are brought to contact. At the fountain which is called 
Mossy the temple of Virgin Fortune is still to be seen ; 
and that of Regardful Fortune in Abescymae. There is 
an altar also to Fortune of Good Hope in the long narrow 
street ; and near to the altar of Venus Epitalaria (Foot- 
winged) there is a chapel to Male Fortune. 

Infinite are the honors and titles of Fortune, the greater 
part of which were instituted by Servius, who knew that 
" Fortune is of great weight — nay, is every thing — in all 
human affairs," * and more especially had found by experi- 
ence that by her favor he was preferred from a captive and 
hostile nation to be king of the Romans. For when 
Corniculum was taken by the Romans, the virgin Ocresia 
being taken at the same time, she for her illustrious beauty 
and virtue (which the meanness of her fortune could not 
hide or obscure) was presented to Tanaquil, the consort 
of King Tarquinius, with whom she served till she was 
married to one of the retainers whom the Romans call 
clients ; and of them was born Servius. Others tell the 
story after this manner: that the virgin Ocresia using 

* Demosth. 01. II. p. 24, 14. 


often to receive the first-fruits and libations from the royal 
table, which were to be offered in sacrifice, it happened on 
a time that when, according to the custom, she had thrown 
them into the fire, upon the sudden expiration of the flame, 
there appeared to come out of it the genital member of a 
man. The virgin, being frighted with so strange a sight, 
told the whole matter to Queen Tanaquil ; who, being a 
wise and understanding woman, judged the vision to be 
divine, and therefore dressed up the virgin in all her bridal 
ornaments and attire, and then shut her up in a room to- 
gether with this apparition. Some attribute this amour to 
Lar the household God, and others to Vulcan ; but which- 
soever it was, Ocresia was with child, and gave birth to 
Servius. And while he was yet an infant, his head was 
seen to send forth a wonderful brightness, like lightning 
darted from the skies. But Antias tells this story after 
a different manner : that when Servius's Avife Getania was 
dead, he fell into a sleep through grief and dejection of 
mind, in the presence of his mother, and then his head 
was seen by the woman encompassed by fire ; which, as it 
was a certain token that he was born of fire, so was a good 
omen of that unexpected kingdom which he obtained after 
the death of Tarquin, by the means of Tanaquil. This 
is so much the more to be wondered at, because he of all 
kings seems to have been least fitted by Nature and most 
averse by inclination to monarchical government ; since he 
would have resigned his kingdom and divested himselF of 
regal authority, if he had not been hindered by the oath 
which it appears he made to Tanaquil when she was dying, 
that he should continue during his life in kingly power, 
and never change that form of government which he had 
received from his ancestors. Thus the reign of Servius 
was wholly owing to Fortune, because he both received it 
beside his expectation, and retained it against his will. 
11. But lest we should seem to shun the light of bright 


and evident arguments, and retreat to ancient stories, as to 
a place of darkness and obscurity, let us now pass over the 
time of the kings, and go on in our discourse to the most 
noted actions and famous wars of following times. And 
first of all it must be confessed that the baldness and 
courage which are necessary for war do aid and improve 
military virtue, as Timotheus says ; and yet it is manifest 
to him that will reason aright, that the abundance of success 
which advanced the Roman Empire to such vast power 
and greatness is not to be attributed to human strength and 
counsels, but to a certain divine impulse and a full gale of  
running Fortune, which carried all before it that hindered 
the rising glory of the Romans. For now trophies were 
erected upon trophies, and triumphs hastened to meet one 
another; before the blood was cold upon their arms, it was 
washed off with the fresh blood of their falling enemies. 
Henceforth the victories were not reckoned by the numbers 
of the slain or the greatness of the spoils, but by the king- 
doms that were taken, by the nations that were conquered, 
by the isles and continents which were 'added to the vast- 
ness of their empire. At one battle Philip was forced to 
quit all Macedonia, by one stroke Antiochus was beaten 
out- of Asia, by one victory the Carthaginians lost Libya; 
but which is yet more wonderful, Armenia, the Euxine sea, 
Syria, Arabia, the Albanians, Iberians, with all the regions 
as far as Caucasus and the Hyrcanians, were by one man 
and the success of one expedition reduced under the power 
of the Roman Empire. The Ocean, which environs the 
whole earth, beheld him thrice victorious ; for he subdued 
the Numidians in Africa, as far as the southern shores ; he 
conquered Spain, which joined in the madness of Sertorius, 
as far as the Atlantic Ocean ; and he pursued the Albanian 
kings as far as the Caspian sea. Pompeius Magnus, one 
and the same man, achieved all those great and stupendous 
things, by the assistance of that public Fortune which 


waited upon the Roman arms with success ; and after all 
this, he sank under the weight of his own fatal greatness. 

The great Genius of the Eomans was not propitious for a 
day only, or for a little time, like that of the Macedonians ; 
it was not powerful by land only, like that of the Laconi- 
ans, or by sea only, like that of the Athenians. It was 
not too slowly sensible of injuries, as that of the Persians 
nor too easily pacified, like that of the Colophonians ; but 
from the beginning growing up with the city, the more it 
increased, the more it enlarged the empire, and constantly 
aided the Romans with its auspicious influence by sea and 
land, in peace and war, against all their enemies, whether 
Greeks or barbarians. It was this Genius which dissipated 
Hannibal the Carthaginian, when he broke in upon Italy 
like a torrent, and the people could give no assistance, 
being torn in pieces by intestine jars. It was this Genius 
that separated the, two armies of the Cimbri and Teutones, 
that they should not meet at the same time and place ; 
by which means Marius the Roman general encountered 
each army by itself, and overcame them ; which, if they 
had been joined together, would have overflowed all Italy 
like a deluge, with three hundred thousand valiant men, 
invincible in arms. It was the same Genius that hindered 
Antiochus by other occasions from assisting Philip while 
he was engaged in war with the Romans ; so that Philip 
was first vanquished while Antiochus was still in danger. 
It was by the conduct of the same Genius that Mithridates 
was taken up with the Sarmatic and Bastarnic wars while 
the Marsians attacked Rome ; that jealousy and envy 
divided Tigranes from Mithridates while the latter was 
flushed with success ; but both of them were joined to- 
gether in the defeat, that they might perish in the same 
common ruin. 

12. What shall I say more] lias not Fortune relieved 
the city, when it was reduced to the greatest extremity of 


danger 1 When the Gauls encamped about the Capitol and 
besieged the castle, 

And heaped the camp with mountains of the dead,* 

did not Fortune and chance discover their secret attack in 
the night-time, which otherwise had surprised all men? 
Of which wonderful accident it will not be unseasonable 
to discourse here a little more largely. 

After the great overthrow and slaughter of the Eomans 
at the river AUia, some of those that remained fled hastily 
to Rome, and communicated their terror and consternation 
to the people there. Some trussed up their bag and bag- 
gage and conveyed themselves into the Capitol, resolving 
there to wait the event of so dismal a calamity ; others 
flocked in great multitudes to Veii, and there proclaimed 
Furius Camillus dictator, giving him now in their distress 
an absolute and unaccountable power, whom before in their 
pride and prosperity they had condemned and banished, as 
guilty of robbing the public treasure. But Camillus, to 
strengthen his title to this authority, which might seem to 
be given him only for the present necessity, contrary to the 
law of the state touching the election of such a magistrate, 
scorned to accept an election from a body of armed soldiers, 
so lately shattered and beaten, as if the government of the 
city were dissolved ; but sent to acquaint the senators that 
were in the Capitol, and know if they would approve the 
election of the soldiers. To accomplish this, there was 
one C. Pontius, who undertook to carry the news of this 
decree to those in the Capitol, though it was with great 
danger of his life ; for he was to go through the midst of 
the enemies, who were entrenched and kept watch about 
the castle. He came therefore in the night-time to the 
river Tiber, and by the help of broad corks supporting the 
weight of his body, he was carried down the stream in a 

 II. I. 10. 


smooth calm water, and safely landed on the other side. 
From thence he passed through places uninhabited, being 
conducted by darkness and silence, to the rock of the 
Capitol ; and climbing up through its winding and rough 
passages, with much labor and difficulty at last he arrived 
at the summit, where, being received by tlie watch, he 
acquainted the senators with Avhat was done by the soldiers, 
and having received their approbation of the decree of 
election, he returned again to Camillas. The next day 
after, one of the Barbarians by chance walking about this 
rock, and seeing in one place the prints of his feet and his 
falls, in another place the grass trodden down which grew 
upon the interspersed earth, and the plain marks of his 
body in its winding ascent through the craggy precipice, 
went presently and informed the rest of the Gauls of the 
whole matter. They, finding that a way was shown them 
by the enemy, resolved to follow his footsteps ; and taking 
the advantage of the dead time of the night, when all were 
fast asleep, not so much as a watch stirring or a dog 
barking, they climbed up secretly to the castle. 

But Fortune in this case was wonderfully propitious to 
the Romans, in discovering and preventing such an immi- 
nent danger by the voice of the sacred geese, which were 
maintained about the temple of Juno for the worship of 
that Goddess. For that animal being wakeful by nature 
and easily frighted with the least noise, these sacred geese 
had been so much neglected by reason of the scarcity of 
provisions which was in the castle, that they were more 
easily wakened by the approach of the enemy out of their 
light and hungry sleep. Therefore they presently perceived 
the Gauls appearing upon the walls, and with a loud voice 
flew proudly towards them ; but being yet more frightened 
with the sight of their shining armor, they raised a louder 
gaggling noise, which wakened the Ilomans ; who under- 
standing the design, presently beat back the enemies, and 


threw them down over the precipices of the rock. There- 
fore, in remembrance of this wonderful accident, a dog 
fastened to a cross, and a goose lying in a bed of state upon 
a rich cushion, are carried about, even to this day, in 
pompous solemnity. And now who is not astonished that 
considers how great the misery of the city was at that time, 
and how great its happiness is now at this day, when he 
beholds the splendor and riches of its donatives, the emu- 
lation of liberal arts that flourish in it, the accession of 
noble cities and royal crowns to its emfoire, and the chief 
products of sea and land, of isles and continents, of rivers 
and trees, of animals and fields, of mountains and metallic 
mines, crow^ding to adorn and beautify this place ? Who 
is not stunned with admiration at the imminent danger 
which then was, whether ever those things should be or 
no ; and at those poor timorous birds, which first began 
the deliverance of the city, when all places were filled with 
fire, darkness, and smoke, with the swords of barbarians 
and bloody-minded men ? What a prodigy of Fortune was 
it that those great commanders, the Manlii, the Servii, 
Postumii, and Papirii, so famous for their warlike exploits 
and for the illustrious families that have descended from 
them, should be alarmed in this extremity of danger by 
the silly geese, to fight for their country's God and their 
country? And if that be true which Polybius writes in 
his second book of those Gauls which then possessed 
Rome, — that they made a peace with Camillus and de- 
parted, as soon as they heard the news of the invasion that 
was made upon their territories by the neighboring barba- 
rians, — then it is past all controversy, that Fortune was 
the 'cause of Rome's preservation by drawing off the ene- 
mies to another place, or rather forcing them from Rome 
beyond all men's expectation. 

13. But why do I dwell upon those things which have 
nothing of certain or evident truth, since the memories of 


those times have perished, and the history of them is con- 
fused, as Livy tells us ] For those things which happened 
in following ages, being plain and manifest to all, do suffi- 
ciently demonstrate the benignity of Fortune to Rome ; 
among which I reckon the death of Alexander to be no 
small cause of the Romans' happiness and security. For 
he, being a man of wonderful success and most famous 
exploits, of invincible confidence and pride, who shot like 
a star, with incredible swiftness, from the rising to the set- 
ting sun, was meditating to bring the lustre of his arms 
into Italy. The pretence of this intended expedition was 
the death of Alexander Molossus, who was killed at Pan- 
dosia by the Bruttians and Lucanians ; but the true cause 
was the desire of glory and the emulation of empire, which 
instigated him to war against all mankind, that lie might 
extend his dominion beyond the bounds of Bacchus and 
Hercules. He had heard of the Roman power in Italy, 
terrible as an army in battle array ; of the illustrious name 
and glory which they had acquired by innumerable battles, 
in which they were flushed with victory ; and this was 
a sufficient provocation to his ambitious spirit to com- 
mence a war against them, which could not have been 
decided without an ocean of blood ; * for both armies ap- 
peared invincible, both of fearless and undaunted minds ; 
and the Romans then had no fewer than one hundred and 
thirty thousand stout and valiant men,f 

All expert soldiers, skilled on foot to daro, 
Or from the bounding courser urge the war. X 

* See Odyss. XVIII. 149. 

t The rest of this discourse appears to be lost, wherein we miss the arguments 
which Virtue alleged for herself in this contest. 
t Odyss. IX. 49. 


1. It is a troublesome and difficult task that philosophy 
undertakes in going about to cure the disease, or rather 
itch, of intemperate prating. For that words, which are 
the sole remedy against it, require attention ; but they who 
are given to prate will hear nobody, as being a sort of 
people that love to be always talking themselves. So that 
the principal vice of loquacious persons is this, that their 
ears arc stopped to every thing else but their own imper- 
tinencies ; which I take to be a wilful deafness in men, 
controlling and contradicting Nature, that has given us two 
ears, though but one tongue. Therefore it was that Eurip- 
ides spoke very right to a certain stupid hearer of his : 

Impossible it is to fill that brain, 
That in a moment lets out all again ; 
*Tis but the words of wisdom to unfold 
Unto a fool, whose skull will nothing hold.* 

ISJLore justly and truly might I say to an idle prate-too-fast, 
or rather concerning such a fellow : 

In vain I seek to fill thy sieve-like brain. 
That in a moment lets out all again ; 
Infusing wisdom into such a skull 
As leaks so fast, it never will be full. 

Much more may he be said to spill his instructions over 
(rathei than pour them into) a man, who is always talking 
to those that do not hear, and never hears when others 

* Euripides, Frag. 891. 


talk. For so soon as a wise man has uttered any thing, be 
it never so short, garrulity swallows it forthwith like the 
sea, and throws it up again threefold, with the violence of 
a swelling tide. Such was the portico at Olympia, called 
Heptaphonos, by the reverberation of one single voice 
causing no less than seven distinct echoes. And in like 
manner, if the least word light into the ears of an imper- 
tinent babbler, presently all the room rings with it, and he 
makes such a din. 

That soon the jangling noise untunes the strings 
Of minds sedately fixt on better things. 

Insomuch that we may say, that the conduits and convey- 
ances of their hearing reach not to the souls, but only to 
their tongues. Therefore it is that other people retain 
what is spoken to them ; whereas, whatever is said to talk- 
ative people runs through them as through a cullender ; 
and then they run about from place to place, like empty 
vessels void of sense or wit, but making a hideous noise. 

2. However, in hopes that there is yet some room left 
to try an experiment for the cure of this distemper, let us 
begin with this golden sentence to the impertinent prater * 

Be silent, boy, and thou wilt find i' th' end, 
What benefits on silent lips attend.* 

Among these benefits two of the first and chiefest are to 
hear and to be heard. To neither of which can these 
talkative companions ever attain ; so unhappy they are 
still to meet with disappointments, though they desire a 
thing never so much. For as for those other distempers 
of the soul, such as avarice, ambition, and exorbitant love 
of pleasure, they have this happiness, to enjoy what they 
so eagerly covet. But this is that which most afflicts these 
idle prattlers, that being desirous of nothing more than 
of company that will hear them prate, they can never meet 
with it, in regard that all men avoid their society; and 

* From the Aleadae of Sophocles, Frag. 79. 



whether sitting in a knot together or walking, so soon 
they behold a prattler advancing towards them, they pres- 
ently give warning to each other and adjourn to another 
place. And as, when there happens a deep silence in any 
assembly, so that all the company seems to be mute, we 
say that Mercury is got among them ; so when a fool, full 
of noise and talk, enters into any room where friends and 
acquaintance are met to discourse or else to feast and be 
merry, all people are hushed of a sudden, as afraid of giv- 
ing him any occasion to set his tongue upon the career.* 
But if he once begin to open his mouth, up they rise and 
away they trip, like seamen foreseeing a sudden storm and 
rolling of the waves, when they hear " the north wind be- 
gin to whistle from some adjoining promontory," and has- 
tening into harbor. Whence it comes to pass, that he 
never can meet with any that are willing either to eat or 
drink or lodge with him in the same room, either upon the 
road or upon a voyage, unless constrained thereto by ne- 
cessity. For so importunate he is in all places, that some- 
times he will pull you by the coat, sometimes by the beard, 
and sometimes be hunching your sides, to make you speak. 
How highly then are to be prized a swift pair of legs, ac- 
cording to the saying of Archilochus! Nay, by Jove, it 
was the opinion of wise Aristotle himself. For he being 
perplexed with an egregious prater, and tired out with his 
absurd stories and idle repetitions of, " And is not this a 
wonderful thing, Aristotle ]" — No wonder at all, said he, 
is this ; but if a man should stand still to hear you prate 
thus, who had legs to run away, that were a wonder indeed. 
To another of the same stamp that, after a long tale of a 
roasted horse, excused himself by saying that he was afraid 
he had tired him with his prolixity ; No, upon my word, 
quoth the philosopher, for I never minded what you said. 
On the other side, should it so fall out that there was no 
avoiding the vexation of one of these chattering fops, Na- 


ture has afforded us this happiness, that it is in the power 
of the soul to lend the outward ears of the body, to endure 
the brunt of the noise, while she retires to the remoter 
apartments of the mind, and there employs herself in bet- 
ter and more useful thoughts. By which means those 
sonorous babblers are at the same time disappointed, as 
well of auditors, as of people that believe what they say. 
All men look upon their vain babbling with the same opin- 
ion that they have of the seed of people insatiably addicted 
to the use of women ; for as the one is barren and useless 
for generation, so is the other void of the end of discourse, 
altogether frivolous and impertinent. 

3. And yet there is no member of human bodies that 
Nature has so strongly enclosed within a double fortifica- 
tion, as the tongue, entrenched within with a barricade of 
sharp teeth, to the end that, if it refuses to obey and keep 
silent when reason " presses the glittering reins " within, 
we should fix our teeth in it till the blood comes, rather 
than sufi'er the inordinate and unseasonable din. For, ac- 
cording to the saying of Euripides, 

Our miseries do not sprint 
From houses wanting locks or bolts ; 

But from unbridled tongues, 
III used by prating fools and dolts. 

And truly, I must tell you, that they who think that houses 
without doors, and purses without strings, are of no use to 
their masters, yet at the same time set neither fence nor 
door before their lips, but suffer a continual torrent of vain 
and idle discourse to flow through them, like the perpetu- 
al flux of water through the mouth of the Pontic sea, seem 
to me to have the least esteem for human speech of all 
men in the world. Whence it comes to pass that they 
never gain belief, which is the end of all discourse. For 
the main scope and intention of all men that speak is to 

* See Eurip. Baccbae, 886. 


gain a belief of what they utter with those that hear them ; 
whereas talkative noise-makers are never believed, let 
them speak never so much truth. For as wheat, wheu' 
crowded into a musty vessel, is found to exceed in meas-i 
ure, but to be unwholesome for use ; so the discourse of a 
loquacious person swells and enlarges itself with lies and 
falsehood, but in the mean time it loses all force of per- 

4. Then again, there is no man of modesty and civil- 
ity but would be careful of preserving himself from 
drunkenness. For anger, as some are of opinion, is 
the next neighbor to madness, while drunkenness doth 
dwell in the very same house with it ; or rather, drunken- 
ness is madness itself, inferior to it in continuance of time, 
yet far exceeding it as it is voluntary, since it is a madness 
of our own choice. Now there is nothing for which drunk- 
enness is so much abominated and decried, as for that 
it is the 

it is the cause of inordinate and unlimited babbling and] 

Heated with wine, the man at other times 

Both wise and grave sings loose and wanton rhymes ; 

He minds not loud indecent laughter then, 

Nor mimic dancing, scorned by sober men.* 

And yet both singing, laughing, and dancing are all but| 
trifles to that which follows, the consequences of which | 
are oft-times fatal : 

He blurts those secrets forth, which once revealed, 
Too late he wishes they had been concealed. 

This is that which oftentimes proves dangerous, if not 
terrible, to the discoverer. And who knows but that the 
poet might here design to resolve a question much dis- 
puted among philosophers, — that is to say, what the dif- 
ference is between being tipsy and stark drunk, — by 
attributing to the former only mirth and jollity of humor, 

• See Odyss. XIV. 4G4. 


but branding the latter with the foul reproach of noxious 
babbling ? For, according to the proverb. 

What the sober heart conceals, 
That the drunken heart reveals. 

Wherefore it is reported of Bias, that sitting very silent at 
a compotation, drinking only when it came to his turn, and 
being laughed at by one whose tongue ran at random, who 
for his silence called him mope and fool, he made this re- 
ply : Find me out that fool, said he, that e'er could hold 
his tongue in his cups. 

A citizen of Athens, having invited the king of Persia's 
ambassadors to a magnificent feast, at their request gave 
the same invitation to the most eminent philosophers in 
the city, to bear them company. Now, when all the rest 
were propounding of themes, and raising arguments pro 
and con, and others were maintaining of paradoxes to show 
their wit and learning, only Zeno sat still, so reserved and 
mute that the ambassadors took notice of it ; and there- 
upon, after they thought they had opened his heart with 
two or three lusty brimmers. Pray tell us, Zeno, said they, 
what report we shall make concerning thee to our master ? 
To whom Zeno : Nothing more, said he, but that there 
was an old man at Athens that could hold his tongue in 
the midst of his cups. Such profound and divine mysteri- 
ous virtues are silence and sobriety ; whereas drunkenness 
is loquacious, void of reason and understanding, and 
therefore full of jangling and impertinent tautologies. 
Wherefore the philosophers, when they come to define 
drunkenness, call it " vain talk over wine.'' So that drink- 
ing is not condemned, provided a man keep himself within 
the bounds of silence ; only vain and silly discourse makes 
wine-bibbing to be drunkenness. He then that is drunk 
talks idly over his wine ; but the babbler does it every- 
where, — in the market-place, at the theatre, in the public 
walks, as well by night as by day. If he be a physician, 

VOL. IV. 1^ 



certainly he is more troublesome than the disease ; if your 
companion in a voyage, more insupportable than the 
qualms occasioned by the tumbling of the sea. If he 
praise thee, his panegyric is more offensive than the 
reproaches of another. It is a greater pleasure to 
converse with vicious men, so they be discreet in their lan- 
guage, than with twaddlers, though never so honest. There- 
fore Nestor in Sophocles, desirous to appease exasperated 
Ajax, mildly thus rebuked him : 

I blame thee not, for though thy words are ill, 
Thy deeds bespeak thee brave and valiant still.* 

But there is not the same excuse to be made for a vain 
babbling fellow ; for the ill government of his tongue cor- 
rupts and vitiates all the merits of his actions. 

5. Lysias had given to a certain accused criminal an 
oration of his own writing. He, having read it several 
times over, came to Lysias very much dejected, and told 
him that, upon his first perusal of it, it seemed to him 
to be a most admirable piece ; but after he had read it 
three or four times over, he could see nothing in it but 
what was very dull and insipid. To whom Lysias, smil- 
ing : What, said he, is not once enough to speak it before 
the judges? And yet do but consider the persuasive elo- 
quence and grace that is in Lysias's writing, and then I 
may be bold to affirm, 

That no man living e'er was favored more 
By sacred Muse that violet garlands wore. 

Certain it is that, of all the commendations that were ever 
given to Homer, this is the truest, that he alone avoided 
being irksome to his readers, as one that was always new 
and still flourishing, as it were in the prime of poetic 
beauty. And yet in speaking thus of himself, 

I hate vain repetitions, fondly made, 
Of what has been already plainly said, f 

 From Sophocles Frag. 770. t Odyss. XII. 452. 


he shows how careful he is to shun that satiety which, as 
it were, lies in wait for all speech, alluring the ear from 
one relation into another, and still recreating the reader 
with fresh variety, in such a manner that he never thinks 
himself satisfied. Whereas men that let their tongues 
run at random rend and tear the ears with their tautolo- 
gies, like those that, after writing-tahles have been newly 
cleansed and wiped, deface them again with llieir imperti- 
nent scrawls and scratches. 

6. And therefore we would have them to remember this 
in the first place, that, as they who constrain men to guz- 
zle down wine unmixed with water, and to excess, are the 
occasion that what was bestowed at first on men as a bless- 
ing, to excite mirth and rejoice the heart, becomes a mis- 
chief, creating sadness and causing drunkenness ; so they 
that make an ill and inconsiderate use of speech, which is 
the most delightful means of human converse, render it 
both troublesome and unsociable, molesting those whom 
they think to gratify, derided by those whose esteem and 
admiration they covet, and offensive to such whose love 
and friendship they seek. And therefore, as he may be 
truly said to be no favorite of Venus, who with the girdle 
of the Goddess, wherein are all manner of allurements, 
drives and chases away his familiar acquaintance from his 
society ; so he that vexes others with his loose and extrava- 
gant talk may be as truly said to be a rustic, wanting alto- 
gether education and breeding. 

7. Now then, among all other passions and maladies, 
some are dangerous, others hateful, and others ridiculous ; 
but in foolish prating all these inconveniences con- 
cur. Praters are derided when they make relations of 
common matters ; they are hated for bringing unwelcome 
tidings ; they are in danger for divulging of secrets. 
Whereas Anarcharsis, being feasted by Solon, was es- 
teemed a wise man, for that, as he lay asleep after the 


banquet was over, he was seen with his left hand over his 
privy parts, and his right hand laid upon his mouth ; deem- 
ing, as indeed he rightly believed, that his tongue required 
the stronger curb. For though it would be a hard task to 
reckon up how many men have perished through the vene- 
real intemperance, yet I dare say it would be almost as 
difficult to tell how many cities and States have been de- 
molished and totally subverted by the inconsiderate blurt- 
ing out of a secret. 

Sylla besieged Athens at a time Avhen it was certain that 
he could not lie long before the city, by reason that other 
affairs and troubles called him another way. For on the 
one side, Mithridates ravaged Asia ; on the other, Marius's 
party had made themselves masters of Rome. But it hap- 
pened, that certain old fellows being met together in a 
barber's shop, among other discourse, blabbed it out, that 
the Heptachalcon was ill guarded, and that the city was in 
great danger of a surprise in that part. Which being 
overheard and reported to Sylla by certain of his spies, he 
presently brought all his forces on that side, and about 
midnight, after a sharp assault, entered the city with his 
whole army, and it was a thousand to one but that he had^ 
laid it in ashes. However, he filled it with the carcasses 
of the slain, and made the Ceramicus run with blood ; 
being highly incensed against the Athenians, more for their 
reproachful language than their military opposition. For 
they had abused both him and his wife Metella, getting up 
upon the walls and calling him " mulberry strewed with 
dust meal," with many other provoking scoffs of the same 
nature; and merely for a few words — which, as Plato 
observes, are the lightest things in the world — they drew 
upon their heads the severest punishment. 

The tongiie of one man prevented Rome from recovering 
her freedom by the destruction of Nero. For there was 
but one night to pass before Nero was to be murdered on 



the morrow, all things being ready prepared and agreed on 
for that purpose. But in the mean time it happened that 
he who had undertaken to execute the act, as he was going 
to the theatre, seeing one of those poor creatures that 
were bound and pinioned, just ready to be led before Nero, 
and hearing the fellow bewail his hard fortune, gathered 
up close to him, and whispered the poor fellow in the ear : 
Pray only, honest friend, said he, that thou mayest but 
escape this day ; to-morrow thou shalt give me thanks. 
Presently the fellow taking hold of this enigmatical speech, 
and calling to mind the vulgar saying, that he is a fool 
who lets slip a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush, 
preferred the surer to the juster way of saving himself, 
and presently declared to Nero what that man had whis- 
pered in his ear. Immediately the whisperer was laid hold 
of, and hurried away to the place of torture, where by 
racking, searing, and scourging he was constrained, poor 
miserable creature, to confess that by force which before 
he had discovered without any compulsion at all. 

8. Zeno, that he might not be compelled by the tortures 
of his body to betray, against his will, the secrets entrusted 
in his breast, bit off his tongue, and spit it in the tyrant's 
face. Notorious also was the example of Leaena, and 
signal the reward which she had for being true to her trust 
and constant in her taciturnity. She was a courtesan with 
whom Ilarmodius and Aristogiton were very familiar ; 
and for that reason they had imparted to her the great 
hopes which they had upon the success of the conspiracy 
against the tyrants, wherein they were so deeply engaged ; 
while she on the other side, having drunk freely of the 
noble cup of love, had been initiated into their secrets 
through the God of Love ; and she failed not of her vow. 
For the two paramours being taken and put to death after 
they had failed in their enterprise, she was also ap[)rehcn(led 
and put to the torture, to force out of her a discovery of 



the rest of the accomplices ; but all the torments and 
tremities they could exercise upon her body ^could not 
prevail to make her discover so much as one person ; 
whereby she manifested to the world that the two gentle- 
men, her friends, had done nothing misbecoming their 
descent, in having bestowed their affections upon such a 
woman. For this reason the Athenians, as a monument 
of her virtue, set up a lioness (which the name Leaena 
signifies) in brass, without a tongue, just at the entrance 
into the Acropolis ; by the stomachful courage of that 
beast signifying to posterity the invincible resolution of 
the woman ; and by making it without a tongue, denoting 
her constancy in keeping the secret with which she was 
entrusted. For never any word spoken did so much good, 
as many locked up in silence. Thus at one time or other 
a man may utter what heretofore has been kept a secret ; 
but when a secret is once blurted forth, it can never be 
recalled ; for it flies abroad, and spreads in a moment far 
and near. And hence it is that we have men to teach us 
to speak, but the Gods are they that teach us silence ; 
silence being the first thing commanded upon our first in- 
itiation into their divine ceremonies and sacred mysteries. 
And therefore it is that Homer makes Ulysses, whose elo- 
quence was so charming, to be the most silent of men ; and 
the same virtue he also attributes to his son, to his wife, 
and also to his nurse. For thus you hear her speaking : 

Safe, as in hardened steel or sturdy oak, 
Within my breast these secrets will I lock. 

And Ulysses himself, sitting by Penelope before he discov- 
ered himself, is thus brought in : 

Ilis weeping wife with pity he beheld, 
Although not willing yet to be revealed. 
He would not move his eyes, but kept them fast, 
Like horn or steel within his eyebrows placed.* 

 Odyss. XIX. 494 and 204. 


So powerfully possessed with continence were both his 
tongue and lips ; and having all the rest of his membef s so 
obedient and subject to his reason, he commanded his eye 
not to weep, his tongue not to speak a word, and his heart 
neither to pant nor tremble. 

So was his suffering heart confined 
To give obedience to his mind ; * 

his reason penetrating even to those inward motions, and 
subduing to itself the blood and vital spirits. Such were 
many of the rest of his followers. For though they were 
dragged and haled by Polyphemus, and had their heads 
dashed against the ground, they would not confess a word 
concerning their lord and master Ulysses, nor discover the 
long piece of wood that was put in the fire and prepared 
to put out his eye ; but rather suffered themselves to be 
devoured raw than to disclose any one of their master's 
secrets ; which was an example of fidelity and reservedness 
not to be paralleled. Pittacus therefore did very well, 
who, when the king of Egypt sent him an oblation-beast, 
and ordered him to take out and set apart the best and 
worst piece of it, pulled out the tongue and sent to him, 
as being the instrument of many good things as well as 
the instrument of the greatest evils in the world. 

9. Ino therefore, in Euripides, frankly extolling herself, 
says : 

I know both when and where my tongue to hold, 
And when with safety to be freely bold.t 

For they that are brought up under a truly generous and 
royal education learn first to be silent, and then to talk. 
And therefore King Antigonus, when his son asked him 
when they should discamp, replied. What ! art thou afraid 
of being the only man that shall not hear the trumpet? 
So loath was he to trust him with a secret, to whom he 
was to leave his kingdom ; teaching him thereby, when he 

* Odyss. XX. 28. t Eurip. Ino, Frag. 417. 


came to command another day, to be no less wary and 
sparing of his speech. Metellus also, that old soldier, 
being asked some such question about the intended march 
of his army. If I thought, said he, that my shirt were 
privy to this secret, I would pull it off and throw it into 
the fire. Eumenes also, when he heard that Craterus was 
marching with his forces against him, said not a word of 
it to his best friend, but gave out all along that it was 
Neoptolemus ; for him his soldiers contemned, but they 
admired Craterus's fame and virtue ; but nobody knew the 
truth but Eumenes himself. Thereupon joining battle, the 
victory fell to their side, and they slew Craterus, not know- 
ing whom he was till they found him among the slain. So 
cunningly did taciturnity manage this combat, and conceal 
so great an adversary ; so that the friends of Eumenes 
admired rather than reproved him for not telling them 
beforehand. For indeed, should a man be blamed in such 
a case, it is better for him to be accused after victory ob- 
tained by his distrust, than to be obliged to blame others 
after an overthrow because he has been too easy to impart 
his secrets. 

10. Nay, what man is he that dares take upon him the 
freedom to blame another for not keeping the secret which 
he himself has revealed to him ? For if the secret ought 
not to have been divulged, it was ill done to break it to 
another ; but if, after thou hast let it go from thyself, thou 
wouldst have another keep it in, surely it is a great argu- 
ment that thou hast more confidence in another than in 
thyself; for, if he be like thyself, thou art deservedly 
lost ; if better, then thou art miraculously saved, as having 
met with a person more faithful to thee than thou art to 
thy own interest. But thou wilt say, he is my friend. 
Very good : yet this friend of mine had another, in whom 
he might confide as much as I did in him ; and in like 
manner his friend another, to the end of the chapter. 


And thus the secret gains ground, and spreads itself by 
multipUcation of babbling. For as a unit never exceeds 
its bounds, but always remains one, and is therefore called 
a unit ; but the next is two, which contains the unlimited 
principle of diversity, — for it straightway departs from 
out of itself (as it were) and by doubling turns to a plu- 
rality, — so speech abiding in the first person's thoughts 
may truly be called a secret ; but being communicated to 
another, it presently changes its name into common rumor. 
This is the reason that Homer gives to words the epithet 
of winged ; for he that lets a bird go out of his hand 
does not easily catch her again ; neither is it possible for a 
man to recall and cage again in his breast a word let slip 
from his mouth ; * for with light wings it fetches many a 
compass, and flutters about from one quarter to another in 
a moment. The course of a ship may well be stayed by 
cables and anchors, which else would spoon away before a 
fresh gale of wind ; but there is no fast riding or anchor- 
hold for speech, when once let loose as from a harbor ; 
but being whirled away with a sonorous noise and loud 
echo, it carries off and plunges the unwary babbler into 
some fatal danger. 

For soon a little spark of fire, let fly, 
May kindle Ida's wood, so thick and high. 
What one man to his seeming friend lets go, 
Whole cities may with ease enquire and know.f 

11. The Senate of Rome had been debating among 
themselves a certain piece of secrecy for several days, 
which caused the matter to be so much the more suspected 
and listened after. Whereupon a certain Roman lady, 
discreet enough in other things, but yet a woman, laid at 
her husband day and night, and mournfully importuned 
him what the secret might be. Oaths, you may be sure, 
she was ready to make, and to curse herself if ever she 

* See Euripides, Frag. 1031. t Eurip. Ino, Frag. 415. 


revealed whatever he should tell ; nor was she wanting in 
tears, and many moist complaints of her being a woman 
so little to be trusted by a husband. The Iloman thus 
beset, yet willing in some measure to make trial of her 
fidelity and convince her of her folly, Thou hast overcome 
me, wife, said he, and now I'll tell thee a most dreadful 
and prodigious thing. We were advertised by the priests, 
that a lark was seen flying in the air, with a golden helmet 
upon her head and a spear in one of her claws ; now we 
are consulting with the augurs or soothsayers about this 
portent, whether it be good or bad. But keep it to thy- 
self, for it may be of great concernment for the common- 
wealth. Having so said, he walked forth toward the 
market-place. No sooner was he gone, but his wife 
caught hold of the first of her maids that entered the 
room, and then striking her breast and teariug her hair, 
Woe is me, said she, for my poor husband and dearest coun- 
try! What will become of us? — prompting the maid, as 
if she were desirous that she should say to her, Why? 
What is the matter, mistress I Upon which she presently 
unfolded all that her husband had told her ; nay, she for- 
got not the common burden with which all twattle-baskets 
conclude their stories ; But, hussy, said she, for your life, 
be sure you say not a word of this to any soul living. The 
wench was no sooner got out of her mistress's sight, but 
meeting with one of her fellow-servants that had little to J 
do, to her she unbosoms herself; she, big with the news, 
with no less speed runs away to her sweetheart, who was 
come to give her a visit, and without any more to do tells 
him all. By this means the story flew about the market- 
place before the first deviser of it could get thither. Pres- 
ently one of his acquaintance meeting him asked, Did ye 
come straight from your house "? Without stop or stay, 
replied the other. And did ye hear nothing? says his 
friend. Why ? quoth the other, Is there any news ? Oh ! 



quotli his friend, a lark has been seen flying in the air, 
with a golden helmet upon her head and a spear in her 
claAV, and the Senate is summoned to consult about it. 
Upon which the gentleman, smiling : God a mercy, wife, 
quoth he, for being so nimble ! One Avould have thought 
I might have got mto the market-place before a story so 
lately told thee ; but I see 'twas not to be done. There- 
upon meeting with some of the senators, he soon delivered 
them out of their pain. However, being resolved to take 
a slight revenge of his wife, making haste home. Wife, 
said he, thou hast undone me ; for it is found out that the 
great secret I told thee was first divulged out of my house ; 
and now must I be banished from my native country for 
your wicked gaggling tongue. At first his wife would 
have denied the matter, and pat it off from her husband 
by telling him there were three hundred more besides 
himself that heard the thing, and why might not one of 
those divulge it as well as he ] But he bade her never tell 
him of three hundred more, and told her it was an inven- 
tion of his own framing to try her and to avoid her impor- 
tunity. Thus this Roman safely and cautiously made the 
experiment of his wife's ability to keep a secret ; as when 
we pour into a cracked and leaky vessel, not wine nor oil, 
but water only. 

But Fulvius, one of Augustus Caesar's minions and 
favorites, once heard the emperor deploring the desolation 
of his family, in regard his two grandchildren by his 
daugliter were both dead, and Postumins, who only re- 
mained alive, upon an accusation charged against him was 
confined to banishment, so that he was forced to set up his 
wife's son to succeed him in the empire, yet upon more 
compassionate thoughts, signifying his determination to 
recall Postumins from exile. This Fulvius hearing related 
the whole to his wife, and she to Livia. Livia sharply 
expostulated the matter with Caesar ; wherefore, seeing he 


had projected the thing so long before, he did not send 
his daughter's son at first, but exposed her -to the hatred 
and revenge of him that he had determined to be his suc- 
cessor. The next morning Fulvius coming into Augustus's 
presence, and sahi ting him with Hail, O Caesar ! Caesar 
retorted upon him, God send thee more wit, Fulvius. He, 
presently apprehending the meaning of the repartee, made 
haste home again ; and calling for his wife, Caesar under- 
stands, said he. that I have discovered his secret counsels, 
and therefore I am resolved to lay violent hands upon my- 
self. And justly too, said she, thou dost deserve to die, 
since having lived so long with me, thou didst not know 
the hivishness of my tongue, and how unable I was to 
keep a secret. However, suffer me to die first. And with 
that, snatching the sword out of her husband's hands, she 
slew herself before his face. 

12. Truly therefore was it said by Philippides the come 
dian, who being courteously and familiarly asked by King 
Lysimachus, what he should bestow upon him of all the 
treasure that he had, made answer, Any thing, O King, but 
your secrets. 

But there is another vice no less mischievous that attends 
garrulity, called Curiosity. For there are a sort of people 
that desire to hear a great deal of news, that they may 
have matter enough to twattle abroad ; and these are the 
most diligent in the w^orld to pry and dive into the secrets 
of others, that they may enlarge and aggravate their own 
loquacity with new stories and fooleries. And then they 
are like children, that neither can endure to hold the ice in 
their hands nor Avill let it go ; or rather they may be said 
to lodge other men's secrets in their bosoms, like so many 
serpents, which they are not able to keep there long, be- 
cause Ihey eat their way through. It is said that the fish 
called the sea-needle and vipers rive asunder and burst 
themselves when they bring forth ; in like manner, secrets, 


dropping from the mouths of those that cannot contain 
them, destroy and overthrow the revealers. Seleucus Cal- 
Ihiicns, having lost his whole army in a battle fought with 
the Galatians, threw oif his royal diadem, and flew away 
full speed on a horse with three or four attendants, wander- 
ing through by-roads and deserts, till at last he began to 
faint for want of food. At length coming to a certain 
countryman's house, and finding the owner himself within, 
he asked him for a little bread and . water ; which the 
countryman not only readily fetched him, but what else his 
ground would afford he very liberally and plentifully set 
before the king and his companions, making them all as 
heartily Avelcome as it was possible for him to do. At 
length, in the midst of their cheer, he knew the king's 
face. This overjoyed the man to such a degree, — that he 
should have the happiness to relieve the king in his neces- 
sity, — that he was not able to contain himself or dissem- 
ble his knowledge of the king; but after he had rode a 
little way with him and came to take his leave ; Farewell, 
King Seleucus, said the poor man. But then the king, 
stretching forth his right hand and pulling his host to his 
breast, as if he had intended to kiss him, nodded to one 
of his followers to strike off the countryman's head with 
his sword. 

E'en while he speaks, his head rolls in the dust.* 

Whereas if he could but have held his peace and mastered 
his tongue for a little while, till the king, as afterwards he 
did, had recovered his good fortune and grandeur, he had 
been doubtless better rewarded for his silence than he was 
for his hospitality. And yet this poor man had some 
colorable excuse for letting his tongue at liberty ; that is to 
say, his hopes, and the kindness he had done the king. 

13. But most of your twattlers, without any cause or 
pretence at all, destroy themselves ; as it happened when 

» II. X. 467. 



certain fellows began to talk pretty freely in a barber s 
shop concerning the tyranny of Dionysius, that it was as 
secure and inexpugnable as a rock of adamant : I wonder, 
quoth the barber, laughing, that you should talk these 
things before me concerning Dionysius, whose throat is 
almost every day under my razor. Which scurrilous free- 
dom of the barber being related to the tyrant, he caused 
him forthwith to be crucified. And indeed the generality 
of barbers are a prating generation of men ; in regard the 
most loquacious praters usually resort to their shops, and 
there sit prattling ; from whence the barbers also learn an 
ill habit of twattUng. Pleasant therefore was the answer 
of Archelaus to the barber who, after he had cast the linen 
toilet about his shoulders, put this question to him. How 
shall I trim your majesty; In silence, quoth the king. It 
was a barber that first reported the news of the great over- 
throw which the Athenians received in Sicily ; for being 
the first that heard the relation of it in the Piraeus, from a 
servant of one of those who had escaped out of the battle, 
he presently left his shop at sixes and sevens, and flew into 
the city as fast as his heels could carry him. 

For fear some other should the honor claim 
Of being first, when he but second came.* 

Now you may be sure that the first spreader of this news 
caused a great hubbub in the city, insomuch that the peo- 
ple, thronging together in the market-place, made diligent 
enquiry for the first divulger. Presently the barber was 
brought by head and shoulders to the crowd, and examined ; 
but he could give no account of his author, only one that 
he never saw or knew in his life before had told him the 
news. Which so incensed the multitude, that they im- 
mediately cried out, To the rack with the traitor, tie the 
lying rascal neck and heels together. This is a mere story 
of the rogue's own making. Who heard it? Who gave 

* II. XXII. 207. 


any credit to it beside himself? At the same instant the 
wheel was brought out, and the poor barber stretched upon 
it, — not to his ease, you may be sure. And then it was, 
and not before, that the news of the defeat was confirmed 
by several that had made a hard shift to escape the slaugh- 
ter. Upon which the people scattered every one to his 
own home, to make their private lamentation for their par- 
ticular losses, leaving the unfortunate barber bound fast to 
the wheel ; in which condition he continued till late in the 
eveninsr, before he was let loose. Nor would this reform 
the impertinent fool ; for no sooner was he at liberty but 
he would needs be enquiring of the executioner, what 
news, and what was reported of the manner of Nicias the 
general's being slam. So inexpugnable and incorrigible a 
vice is loquacity, gotten by custom and ill habit, that they 
cannot leave it off, though they were sure to be hanged. 

14. And yet we find that people have the same antipa- 
thy against divulgers of bad tidings, as they that drink 
bitter and distasteful potions have against the cups where- 
in they drank them. Elegant therefore is the dispute in 
Sophocles between the messenger and Creon : 

Messenger. By what I tell and what you hear, 
Do I offend your heart or ear 1 

Creon. Why so inquisitive to sound 

My grief, and search the painful wound ? 

Messenger. My news afflicts thy ears, I find , 

But 'tis the fact torments thy mind.* 

Thus they that bring us bad tidings are as bad as they 
who are the authors of our misery ; and yet there is 
no restraining or correcting the tongue that will run at 

It liJippened that the temple of Minerva in Lacedaemon 
called Clialcioecus was robbed, and nothing but an earthen 
pitcher left behind ; which caused a great concourse of 
people, where every one spent his verdict about the empty 

* Soph. Antigone, 817. 


pitcher. Gentlemen, says one, pray give me leave to tel 
ye my opinion concerning this pitcher. I am apt to be 
lieve, that these sacrilegious villains, before they ventured 
upon so dangerous an attempt, drank each of them a 
draught of hemlock juice, and then brought wine along 
with them in this pitcher ; to the end that, if it were their 
good hap to escape without being apprehended, they might 
soon dissolve and extinguish the strength and vigor of the' 
venom by the force of the wine unmixed and pure ; but if 
they should be surprised and taken in the fact, that then 
they might die without feeling any pain under the torturQj 
of the rack. Having thus said, the people, olDserving s 
much forecast and contrivance in the thing, would not b 
persuaded that any man could have such ready thought 
upon a bare conjectui'e, but that he must know it to be so. 
Thereupon, immediately gathering about him, one asked 
who he was ; another, who knew him ; a third, how h 
came to be so much a philosopher. And at length, the 
did so sift and canvass and fetch him about, that th 
fellow confessed himself to be one of those that com- 
mitted the sacrilege. 

And were not they who murdered the poet Ibycus dis- 
covered after the same manner, as they sat in the theatre ] 
For as they were sitting there under the open sky to be- 
hold the public pastimes, they observed a flock of cranes 
flying over their heads ; upon which they whispered mer- 
rily one to another. Look, yonder are the revengers of 
Ibycus's death. Which words being overheard by some 
that sat next them, — in regard that Ibycus, had been long 
missing but could not be found, though diligent search had 
been made after him, — they presently gave information 
of what they had heard to the magistrates. By whom 
being examined and convicted, they sufl'ered condign pun- 
ishment, though not betrayed by the cranes, but by the 
incontinency of their own tongues, and by an avenging 



Erinnys hovering over their heads and constraining them 
to confess the murder. For as in the body, wounded and 
diseased members draw to themselves the vicious humors 
of the neighboring parts ; in like manner, the unruly 
tongues of babblers, infested (as it were) with inflamma- 
tions where a sort of feverish pulses continually lie beat- 
ing, will be always drawing to themselves something of 
the secret and private concerns of other men. And there- 
fore the tongue ought to be environed with reason, as with 
a rampart perpetually lying before it, like a mound, to 
stop the overflowing and slippery exuberance of imperti- 
nent talk ; that we may not seem to be more silly than 
geese, which, when they take their flight out of Cilicia 
over the mountain Taurus, which abounds with eagles, are 
reported to carry every one a good big stone in their bills, 
instead of a bridle or barricado, to restrain their gaggling. 
By which means they cross those hideous forests in the 
night-time undiscovered. 

15. Now then if the question should be asked. Which 
are the worst and most pernicious sort of people ? I do not 
believe there is any man that would omit to name a traitor. 
By treason it was that Euthycrates covered the uppermost 
story of his house with Macedonian timber, according to 
the report of Demosthenes ; that Philocrates, having re- 
ceived a good sum of money, spent it upon whores and 
fish ; and that Euphorbus and Philagrus, who betrayed 
Eretria, were so well rewarded by the king with ample 
oossessions. But a prattler is a sort of traitor that no 
man needs to hire, for that he oflers himself officiously 
and of his own accord. Nor does he betray to the enemy 
either horse or walls ; but whatever he knows of public 
01 private concerns requiring the greatest secrecy, that he 
disviloses, whether it be in courts of judicature, in con- 
spiracies, or management of state afl"airs, 'tis all one ; he 
expects not so much as the reward of being thanked for 

VOL. IV. 16 


his pains ; nay, rather he will return thanks to them 
give him audience. And therefore what was said upon a 
certain spendthrift that rashly and without any discretion 
wasted his own estate by his lavish prodigality to others, 

Thou art not liberal ; *tis a disease 

Of vainly giving, which does thee possess ; 

'Tis all to please thyself, what thou dost give,* 

may well be retorted upon a common prattler : 

Thou art no friend, nor dost to me impart. 
For friendship's sake, the secrets of thy heart ; 
But as thy tongue has neither bolt nor lock, 
'Tis thy disease, that thou delight'st to talk. 

16. Nor would I have the reader think that what hai 
hitherto been said has been discoursed so much to blame a 
to cure that vicious and infectious malady of loquaciousness 
For though we surmount and vanquish the vices of the min 
by judgment and exercise, yet must the judgment preced 
For no man will accustom himself to avoid and, as it w^ere^ 
to extirpate out of his soul those vices, unless he firs 
abominate them. Nor can we ever detest those evil habit 
of the mind as we ought to do, but when we rightly judge 
by reason's light of the prejudice they do us, and the igno- 
miny we sustain thereby. For example, we consider and 
find that these profuse babblers, desirous of being be- 
loved, are universally hated ; while they study to gratify, 
they become troublesome ; while they seek to be admired, 
they are derided. If they aim at profit, they lose all their 
labor ; in short, they injure their friends, advantage their 
enemies, and undo themselves. And therefore the first 
remedy and cure for this spreading malady will be this, to 
reckon up all the shameful infamies and disasters that 
attend it. 

17. The second remedy is to take into serious consider- 
ation the practice of the opposite virtue, by always hearing, 
remembering, and having ready at hand the due praises 

* From Epicharmus. 


and encomiums of reservedness and taciturnity, together 
with the majesty, sanctimony, and mysterious profoundness 
of silence. Let them consider how much more beloved, how 
much more admired, how far they are reputed to excel in 
prudence, who deliver their minds in few words, roundly 
and sententiously, and contract a great deal of sense within 
a small compass of speech, than such as fly out into vol- 
uminous language, and suffer their tongues to run before 
their wit. The former are those whom Plato so much 
praises, and likens unto skilful archers, darting forth their 
sentences thick and close, as it were crisped and curled 
one within another. To this same shrewdness of expres- 
sion Lycurgus accustomed his fellow-citizens from their 
childhood by the exercise of silence, contracting and thick- 
ening their discourse into a compendious delivery. For as 
the Celtiberians make steel of iron by burying it in the 
ground, thereby to refine it from the gross and earthy part, 
so the Laconic way of speech has nothing of bark upon it, 
but by cutting off all superfluity of words, it becomes steeled 
and sharpened to pierce the understanding of the hearers. 
So their consciousness of language, so ready to turn the 
edge to all manner of questions, became natural by their 
extraordinary practice of silence. And therefore it would 
be very expedient for persons so much given to talk, always 
to have before their eyes the short and pithy sayings of 
those people, were it only to let them see the force and 
gravity which they contain. For example : The Lacedae- 
monians to Philip ; Dionysius in Corinth. And when 
Philip wrote thus to the Spartans : If once I enter into 
your territories, I will destroy ye all, never to rise again ; 
they answered him with the single word. If To King 
])omctrius exclaiming in a great rage. What ! have the 
Spartans sent me but one ambassador ? the ambassador 
nothing terrified replied. Yes ; one to one. Certainly they 
that spoke short and concisely were much admired by the 



ancients. Therefore the Amphictyons gave order, not that 
the Iliad or the Odyssey or Pindar's paeans should be 
written upon Pythian Apollo's temple ; but Know thy^ 
self; Nothing too much; Give sureties, and mischief is at 
hand. So much did they admire conciseness of speech, 
comprehending full sense in so much brevity, made solid 
as it were by the force of a hammer. Does not the Deity 
himself study compendious utterance in the delivery of his 
oracles 1 Is he not therefore called Loxias,* because he| 
avoids rather loquacity than obscurity ? Are not they that 
signify their meaning by certain signs, without words, in' 
great admiration and highly applauded ? Thus Heraclitus 
being desired by his fellow-citizens to give them his opin- 
ion concerning Concord, ascended the public pulpit, and 
taking a cup of cold water into his hand, first sprinkled it 
with a little flour, then stirring it with a sprig of penny- 
royal, drank it off, and so came down again ; intimating there- 
by, that if men would but be contented with what was next 
at hand, without longing after dainties and superfluities, it 
would be an easy thing for cities to live in peace and con- 
cord one with another. 

Scilurus, king of the Scythians, left fourscore sons be- 
hind him ; who, when he found the hour of death approach- 
ing, ordered them to bring him a bundle of small javelins, 
and then commanded every one singly to try whether he 
could break the bundle, as it was, tied up altogether ; which 
when they told him it was impossible for them to do, he 
drew out the javelins one by one, and brake them all him- 
self with ease ; thereby declaring that, so long as they kept 
together united and in concord, their force would be in- 
vincible, but that by disunion and discord they would 
enfeeble each other, and render their dominion of small 

18. He then, that by often repeating and reflection sliall 

* The name Loxias is usually derived from /lo^of, indirect. (G.) 



enure himself to such precedents as these, may in time per- 
haps be more delighted with these short and conclusive 
apophthegms than with the exorbitances of loose and lav- 
ish discourse. For my own part, I must acknowledge that 
I am not a little ashamed of myself, when I call to mind that 
same domestic servant of whom I am now going to speak, 
and consider how great a thing it is to advise before a man 
speaks, and then to be able to maintain and stick to what 
he has resolved upon. 

Piipius Piso, the rhetorician, being unwilling to be dis- 
turbed with much talk, gave orders to his servants to answer 
to such questions only as he should ask them, and say no 
more. Then having a design to give an entertainment to 
Clodiiis, at that time magistrate, he ordered him to be in- 
vited, and provided a splendid banquet for him, as in all prob- 
ability he could do no less. At the time appointed several 
other guests appeared, only they waited for Clodius's coming, 
who tarried much longer than was expected ; so that Piso 
sent his servant several times to him, to know whether he 
would be pleased to come to supper or no. Now when it 
grew late and Piso despaired of his coming. What ! said he 
to his servant, did you call him ? Yes, replied the servant. 
Why then does he not come away ] Because he told me 
he would not come. Why did you not tell me so before ? 
Because, sir, you never asked me the question. This was a 
Roman servant. But an Athenian servant, while he is 
digging and delving, will give his master an account of the 
articles and capitulations in a treaty of peace. So strangely 
docs custom prevail in all things, of which let us now dis- 

11). For there is no curb or bridle that can tame or re- 
strain a libertine tongue ; only custom must vanquish that 
disease. First therefore, when there are many questions 
propounded in the company where* thou art, accustom thy- 


self to silence till all the rest have refused to give 
answer. For, as Sophocles observes, 

Although in racing swiftness is required, 
In counselling there's no such haste desired ; 

no more do speech and answer aim at the same mark with 
running. For it is the business of a racer to get the 
start of him that contends with him ; but if another man 
gives a sufficient answer, there needs no more than to com-^ 
mend and approve what he says, and so gain the reputatioii 
of a candid person. If not, then to tell wherein the othei 
failed and to supply the defect will neither be unseasonabl 
nor a thing that can justly merit distaste. But above al 
things, let us take special heed, when another is asked 
question, that we do not chop in to prevent his returnin 
an answer. And perhaps it is as little commendable, when 
a question is asked of another, to put him by, and under 
take the solution of what is demanded ourselves. Foi 
thereby we seem to intimate that the person to whom th( 
question was put was not able to resolve it, and that th( 
propounder had not discretion sufficient to know of whom 
to ask it. Besides, such a malapert forwardness in an- 
swering is not only indecent, but injurious and affrontive. 
For he that prevents the person to whom the question is 
put in returning his answer, would in effect insinuate aal 
What need had you to ask of him] — What can he say to 
if? — When I am in presence, no man ought to be asked 
those questions but myself And yet many times we put 
questions to some people, not for want of an answer, but 
only to minister occasion of discourse to provoke them to 
familiarity, and to have the pleasure of tlieir wit and con- 
versation, as Socrates was wont to challenge Theactetus 
and Charmides. Therefore to prevent another in returning 
his answers, to abstract his ears, and draw off his cogita- 
tions from another to himself, is the same thing as to run 
and salute a man who designs to be saluted by somebody 


else, or to divert his eyes upon ourselves which were al- 
ready fixed upon another ; considering that if he to whom 
the question is put refuse to return an answer, it is but 
decent for a man to contain' himself, and by an answer 
accommodate to the will of the propounder, modestly and 
respectfully to put in, as if it had been at the request or 
in the behalf of the other. For they that are asked a 
question, if they fail in their answer, are justly to be par- 
doned ; but he that voluntarily presumes to answer for 
another gives distaste, let his answer be never so rational; 
but if he mistake, he is derided by all the company. 

20. The second point of exercise, in reference to our 
own answering of questions, wherein a man that is given 
to talk ought to be extremely careful, is first of all not to 
be over-hasty in his answers to such as provoke him to 
talk on purpose to make themselves merry and to put an 
affront upon him. For some there are who, not out of 
any desire to be satisfied, but merely to pass away the 
time, study certain questions, and then propound them to 
persons wliich they know love to multiply words, on pur- 
pose to make themselves sport. Such men therefore ought 
to take heed liow^ they run headlong and leap into dis- 
course, as if they w^ere glad of the occasion, and to con- 
sider the behavior of the propounder and the benefit and 
usefulness of the question. When we find that the pro- 
pounder is really desirous to be informed, it is convenient 
then for a man to bethink himself awhile, and make some 
pause between the question and the answer ; to the end 
that the proposer, if he pleases to make any additions to 
his proposal, may have time to do it, and himself a conven- 
ient space to consider what answer to make, for fear of 
running at random and stifiing the question before it be 
fully propounded, or of giving one answer for another for 
want of considering what he ought to say, — which is the 
effect of an over-hasty zeal to be talking. True it is, 


indeed, that the Pythian priestess was wont to giv 
oracular answers at the very instant, and sometimes before 
the question was propounded. For that the Deity whom 
she serves 

Both understands the mute that cannot speak. 
And hears the silent e'er his mind he break.* 

But it behooves a man that would return a pertinent an- 
swer, to stay till he rightly apprehend the sense and under- 
stand the intent of him that propounds the question, lest 
he may happen to make good the proverb, 

A rake we called for ; they refused a bowl. 

Besides, we must subdue this inordinate and insatiate greed- 
iness of having all the talk, that it may not seem as if we 
had some old flux of humors impostumated about the 
tongue, which we were willing to have lanced and let 
out by a question. Socrates therefore, though never so 
thirsty after violent exercise, never would allow himself the 
liberty to drink, till he had drawn one bucket of water 
and poured it out upon the ground ; to the end he might 
accustom his sensual appetite to attend reason's appoint- 

21. Now therefore we come to understand that there 
are three sorts of answers to questions, the necessary, the 
polite, and the superfluous. For example, if a man should 
ask whether Socrates is within, the other, if he were in an 
ill-humor or not disposed to make many words, would 
answer. Not within ; or if he intended to be more Laconic, M\ 
he would cut off" " within," and reply briefly. No. Thus 
the Lacedaemonians, when Philip sent them an epistle, to 
know whether or not they- would admit him into their 
city, vouchsafed him no other answer than only No, fairly 
written in large letters upon a sheet of paper. Another 
that would answer more courteously would say : He is not 
within; he is gone among the bankers; and perhaps he 

* See Herod. I. 47. 


would add, Where he expects some friends. But a super- 
fluous prater, if he chance to have read Antimachus of 
Colophon, would reply : He is not within ; but is gone 
among the bankers, in expectation to meet certain Ionian 
friends, who are recommended to him in a letter from Al- 
cibiades, who lives at Miletus with Tissaphernes, one of 
the great king of Persia's lieutenant-generals, who for- 
merly assisted the Lacedaemonians, but is now, by the 
solicitation of Alcibiades, in league with the Athenians ; 
for Alcibiades, being desirous to return to his own country, 
has prevailed with Tissaphernes to cliange his mind and 
join with tlie Athenians. And thus perhaps you sliall have 
him run on and repeat the whole eighth book of Thu- 
cydides, and overwhelm a man with his impertinent 
discourse, till he has taken Miletus, and banished Alci- 
biades a second time. Herein therefore ought a man 
chiefly to restrain the profuseness of his language, by 
following the footsteps of the question, and circumscribing 
the answer, as it were, within a circle proportionable to 
the benefit which the propounder proposes to make of 
his question. It is reported of Carneades, that before he 
was well known in the world, while he was disputing in 
the Gymnasium, the president of the place sent him an 
admonition to moderate his voice (for he naturally spoke 
very deep and loud) ; in answer to which he desired the 
president to send him a gauge for his voice, when the pres- 
identmot improperly made answer: Let that be the person 
who disputes with thee. In like manner, the intent of 
the propounder ought to be the rule and measure of the 

22. Moreover, as Socrates was wont to say, that those 
meats were chiefly to be abstained from which allured men 
to eat when they were not a-liungry, and those drinks to 
be refrained that invited men to drink when they were not 
a-dry ; so it would behoove a man that is lavish of his 


tongue, to be afraid of those discourses and themes wher 
in he most delights and makes it his business to be most 
prohx, and whenever he perceives them flowing in upon 
him, to resist them to the utmost of his power. For ex- 
ample, your martial men are always talking of sieges and 
battles, and the great poet often introduces Nestor boasting 
of his own achievements and feats of arms. The same 
disease is incident to noted pleaders at the bar, and accom- 
panies such as have unexpectedly risen to be the favorites 
of great princes. For such will be always up with their 
stories, — how they were introduced at first, how they 
ascended by degrees, how they got the better in such a 
case, what arguments they used in such a case, and lastly 
how they were hummed up and applauded in court. For 
to say truth, gladness and joy are much more loquacious 
than the sleeplessness so often feigned in their comedies, 
rousing up and still refreshing itself with new relations ; 
and therefore they are prone to fall into such stories upon 
the least occasion given. For not only 

Where tlie body most is pained, 
There tlie patient lays liis Iiand ; 

but pleasure also has a voice within itself, and leads the 
tongue about to be a support to the memory. So lovers 
spend the greatest part of their time in songs and sonnets, Jj 
to refresh their memories with the representations of their 
mistresses ; concerning which amours of theirs, when com- : 
panions are wanting, they frequently discourse with things j 
that are void of life. Thus, a 

O dearest bed, wlicreon we wont to rest ; 

and again, 

O blessed lamp divine, — for surely thee 
Bacchis believes some m'ghty Deity, — 
Surely the greatest of the Gods thou art, 
If she so wills who does possess my heart. 

And indeed it may well be said, that a loose-tongued fel- 
low is no more, in respect of his discourse, than a white, 


line struck with chalk upon white marble. For in regard 
there are several subjects of discourse, and many men are 
more subject to some than to others, it behooves every 
one to be on his guard especially against these, and to sup- 
press them in such a manner that the delight which they 
take therein may not decoy them into their beloved pro- 
lixity and profuseness of words. The same inclination to 
overshoot themselves in prattling appears in such as are 
prone to that kind of discourses wherein they suppose 
themselves to excel others, either in habit or experience. 
For such a otie, being as well a lover of himself as am- 
bitious of glory, 

The chiefest part of all the day doth spend, 
Himself to pass and others to transcend.* 

For example, he that reads much endeavors to excel in 
history ; the grammarian, in the artificial couching of 
words ; the traveller is full of his geography. But all 
these surplusages are to be avoided with great caution, 
lest men, intoxicated therewith, grow fond of their old in- 
firmities, and return to their former freaks, like beasts that 
cannot be driven from their haunts. Cyrus therefore, yet 
a young stripling, Avas most worthy of admiration, who 
would never challenge his equals and playfellows to any 
exercise wherein he excelled, but to such only wherein he 
knew himself to be inferior ; unwilling that they should 
fret for the loss of the prize which he Avas sure to win, 
and loath to lose what he could himself gain from the 
others' better skill. 

On the otlier side, the profuse talker is of such a dispo- 
sition that, if any discourse happen from which he might 
be able to learn something and inform his ignorance, that 
he refuses and rejects, nor can you hire him even to hold 
his tongue ; but after his rolHng and restless fancy has 
mustered up some few obsolete and all-to-be-tattered rhap- 

* From the Antiope of Euripides, Frag. 183. 


sodies to supply his vanity, out he flings them, as if he 
were master of all the knowledge in the world. Just like 
one amongst us who, having read two or three of Ephorus's 
books, tired all men's ears, and spoiled and brake up all 
the feasts and societies wherever he came, with his con- 
tinual relations of the battle of Leuctra and the conse- 
quences of it ; by which means he got himself a nickname, 
and every one called him Epaminondas. 

2'3. But this is one of the least inconveniences of this 
infirmity ; and indeed we ought to make it one step toAvards 
the cure, to turn this violent vein of twattling upon such 
subjects as those. For such a loquacity is less a nuisance 
when it superabounds in what belongs to humane litera- 
ture. It would be Avell also that the sort of people who 
are addicted to this vice should accustom theuiselves to 
write upon some subject or other, and to dispute of certain 
questions apart. For Antipater the Stoic, as we may 
probably conjecture, either not being able or else unwilling 
to come into dispute with Carneadcs, vehemently inveigh- 
ing against the Stoics, declined to meet him fairly in the 
schools, yet would be always writing answers against him ; 
and because he filled whole volumes full of contradictory 
arguments, and still opposed him with assertions that only 
made a noise, he \vas called Calamoboas, as one that made 
a great clamor with his pen to no purpose. So it is very 
probable that such fighting wdth their own shadows, and 
exclaiming one against another apart by themselves, driving 
and restraining them from the multitude, would render 
them gradually more tolerable and sociable in civil com- 
pany ; as curs, after they have once discharged their fury 
upon sticks and stones, become less fierce towards men. 
It would be always of great importance to them to con- 
verse with their superiors and elders ; for that the awful 
reverence and respect which they bear to their dignity and 
gravity may accustom them in time to silence. 


And it would be evermore expedient to intermix and in- 
volve with these exercises this manner of ratiocination 
with ourselves, before we speak, and at the very moment 
that the words are ready to break out of our mouths : 
What is this which I would say, that presses so hard to be 
gone ? For what reason would this tongue of mine so fain 
be talking? What good shall I get by speaking? W^hat 
mischief shall I incur by holding my peace ? For we are 
not to ease and discharge ourselves of our words, as if they 
were a heavy burthen that overloaded us ; for speech re- 
mains as well when uttered as before ; but men eithei 
speak in behalf of themselves when some necessity com- 
pels them, or for the benefit of those that hear them, or 
else to recreate one another with the delights of converse, 
on purpose to mitigate and render more savory, as with 
salt, the toils of our daily employments. But if there be 
nothing profitable in speaking, nothing necessary to them 
that hear wiiat is said, nothing of satisfaction or delight, 
what need is there it should be spoken ? For Avords may 
be in vain and to no purpose, as well as deeds. But after 
and above all that has been said, we ought always to bear 
in remembrance, and always to have at our tongue's end, 
that saying of Simonides, that he had often repented him 
of talking, but never of keeping silent. Then as for ex- 
ercise, we must believe it to be a matter of great impor- 
tance, as being that which overcomes and masters all things ; 
considering what watchful care and even toil and labor 
men will undergo to get rid of an old cough or hiccough. 
But silence and taciturnity not only never cause a dry 
throat, as Hippocrates observes, but are altogether free 
from pain and sorrow. 



1, Flavianus. Was it not in Helicon, dear Autobulus, 
that those discourses were held concerning Love, which — 
whether thou hast already set them down in writing, or 
still carriest them in thy memory, as having often desired 
them from thy father — we are now in expectation that 
thou wilt recite to us, at our importunate request ] 

Autobulus. I was in Helicon, dear Flavianus, among 
the Muses, at what time the Thespians performed the 
Erotic solemnities. For they celebrate every four years 
certain games and festivals very magnificent and splendid 
in honor of Cupid, as well as of the Muses. 

Flav. Know'st thou then what it is we all desire at thy 
hands, as many as are gathered here together to be thy 
auditors ? 

AuTOB. No ; but I shall know, when I am once by you 

Flav. Curtail, we beseech ye, your discourse at present, 
forbearing the descriptions of meadows and shades, to- 
gether with the crawling ivy, and whatever else poets are 
so studious to add to their descriptions, imitating with more 
curiosity than grace Plato's Ilissus,* with the chaste tree 
and the gentle rising hillock covered with green grass. 

AuTOB. What needed my relation, dearest Flavianus, 
such a proem as this'? The occasion that gave birth to 

* See Plato's Phaedrus, p. 230 B. 

OF LOVE. 255 

these discourses of itself (as it were) asks for a chorus, and 
it requires a theatre ; otherwise there is nothing wanting 
of a complete drama. Therefore let us only heseech 
Memory, the mother of the Muses, to he propitious and 
assist us in the discovery of the fahle. 

2. For a long time before we -were born, when our 
father had newly espoused our mother, an unlucky vari- 
ance that fell out between their parents caused him to take 
a journey to Thespiae, with an intention to sacrifice to the 
God of Love ; and he carried my mother also to the feast 
(for that it properly belonged to her as well to make the 
feast as to perform the sacrifice), besides several of his 
familiar acquaintance that accompanied him from his 
house. Now being arrived at Thespiae, he met with 
Daphnaeus, the son of Archidamus, who was in love with 
Lysandra, the daughter of Simon, and who was, above all 
her suitors, chiefly the most welcome and acceptable to her. 
There he also found Soclarus, the son of Aristion, Avho was 
come from Tithorea ; together with Protogenes of Tarsus 
and Zeuxippus the Lacedaemonian, by whom he had been 
several times kindly entertained; .and he said that most of 
the chief men among the Boeotians were there also. Thus 
they stayed for two or three days in the city, entertaining 
each other with learned discourses, one while in the com- 
mon wrestling-places, sometimes in the theatres, still keep- 
ing company together. After that, avoiding the trouble- 
some contest of the harpers and musicians, — it being 
found out that all had been settled beforehand by favor and 
intrigue, — the greatest part brake company, as if they 
had been discamping out of an enemy's country, retired to 
Helicon, and took up their lodgings among the Muses. 
Thither the next morning came to them Anthemion and 
Pisias, persons of eminent nobility, and both allied to 
Baccho, surnamed the Fair, and in some way at difference 
one with another, by reason of the affection which they 

256 OF LOVE. 

severally bore to him. For there was at Thespiae, 
menodora, of an iUiistrious family, and wealthy withal 
and indeed in all other respects discreet and modest; and 
moreover she had continued a widow no little time, without 
spot or stain to her reputation, though both young and 

Now it happened that while this brisk widow was en-J 
deavoring to make up a match between Baccho, who was" 
the son of her intimate friend, and a certain just blooming 
virgin nearly allied to herself, by often talking with the 
young gentleman and much frequenting his company, she 
began to feel some sparks of kindness kindled for him in 
her own breast. Afterwards hearing him highly com- 
mended by others, and speaking many things in his praise 
lierself, and finding him beloved by a great number of per- 
sons of the best rank, by degrees she fell desperately iq 
love with the youth ; nevertheless with a resolution to do 
nothing unbeseeming her birth and quality, but after 
public wedlock to acknowledge him as her husband. But 
as the match seemed impracticable by reason of the distance 
of their years, so the mother of the young man suspected 
the nobility and grandeur of her house not to be correspon- 
dent to her son's condition, which rendered him incapable 
of such a preferment. Moreover, his companions that 
were wont to go a hunting with him, weighing the differ- 
ence between his and the age of Ismenodora, tilled his 
head with several scruples, and scaring him with continual 
frumps and scoffs, more effectually hindered the match 
than they who labored industriously and seriously to pre- 
vent it. And the young man himself felt ashamed at his 
age to be married to a widow. At last, however, shaking 
off all others, he applies himself to Pisias and Anthemion 
for their advice in a matter of so great concernment. The 
elder of these two, x\nthemion, was his cousin, and Pisias 
the most earnest of his lovers. The latter therefore with- 

OF LOVE. 257 

stood the match with all his might, and upbraided Anthe- 
mion, as one that went about to betray the young man to 
Ismenodora. On the other side, Anthemion told. Pisias, 
that he did not well to do as he did, having the reputation 
of a worthy honest man, to imitate those lewd lovers, and 
endeavor to deprive his friend of a noble house, a rich 
wife, and other great conveniences, that he might have the 
pleasure to see him frequently naked in the wrestling- 
places, fresh and smooth, and a stranger to female sports. 

3. However, to prevent the growing of any quarrel be- 
tween them, through long and passionate disputes, they 
chose for umpires of the controversy my father and those 
friends that were with him. And beside them, as if they 
had been chosen on purpose, Daphnaeus pleaded for Pisias, 
and for Anthemion, Protogenes ; who bitterly inveighing 
against Ismenodora, O Hercules, cried Daphnaeus, what 
may we not expect, when Protogenes bids defiance to love ? 
he that all along has spent as well the serious as sportive 
hours of his life both in love and for love, without regard 
either to learning or his country ; nor like to Laius, who was 
but five days' journey distant from home, — for his was a 
slow sort of love upon the dry land, — whereas your Cupid, 

With nimble wings displayed, 

crossed the seas from Cilicia to Athens, merely to visit and 
straggle up and down with lovely boys. And indeed, such 
at first was the true cause of Protogenes's peregrination. 

4. At which the company falling into a loud laughter ; 
How ! said Protogenes, can you believe that I at this time 
wage war against love, and that I do not rather fight for 
love against intemperate desire and lascivious wantonness, 
wliich, under the shelter of the most honest and fairest 
names that are, let themselves loose into the most shame- 
ful acts of inordinate lust and concupiscence ] Then Daph- 
naeus : Do ye number wedlock and the conjunction of man 

VOL. IV. 17 

258 OF LOVE. 

and wife (than which there is no tie more sacred in this 
life) among the vile and dishonest actions of the world] 
Why truly, replied Protogenes, this same bond of wedlock, 
as being necessary for generation, is not undeservedly per- 
haps extolled by our grave politicians and lawgivers, and 
by them recommended to the multitude. But I must tell 
ye, if you mean true love, there is not a farthing's worth of 
it to be found among women. Nor do I believe that either 
you yourselves, or any other that dote so much as you pre- 
tend to do upon women and virgins, love them any other- 
wise than as flies love milk, or bees love honey-combs ; or 
as cooks and butchers fat up calves and poultiy in the dark, 
not out of any extraordinary affection which they bear to 
these creatures, but for the gain which they make of them. 
But as Nature prompts all men to the use of bread and 
meat with moderation and so far as may suffice the appe- 
tite, the excess of which becomes a vice, under the name 
of gluttony or gormandizing ; thus it is natural for men and 
women to desire the pleasures of mutual enjoyment, but as 
for that impetuous concupiscence that hurries the greatest 
part of mankind with so much strength and violence, it is 
not properly called love. For love that is bred in a young 
and truly generous heart, by means of friendship, teraiinates 
in virtue ; whereas all our desires towards women, let them 
be taken in the best sense he can, serve us only to reap the 
fruit of pleasure, and to assist us in the fruition of youth 
and beauty. As Aristippus testified to one that would have 
put him out of conceit with Lais, for that, as he said, she 
did not truly love him ; no more, said he, am I beloved by 
pure wine or good fish, and yet I willingly make use of 
both. For the end of desire is pleasure and enjoyment. 
But love, having once lost the hopes of friendship, will 
neither tarry, nor cherish for beauty's sake that which is 
irksome, though never so gaudy in the flower of youth, if 
it bring not forth the fruit of a disposition prepense to 


OF LOVE. 259 

friendship and virtue. And therefore it is that you hear a 
certain husband in a tragedy thus talking to his wife : 

Tliou liat'st me ? True ; — and I thy proud disdain 
Will brooi<: witli patience, careless of the pain, 
So long as my dishonor gives me gain. 

Now I take hirn to be not at all a more amorous man than 
this, that can endure, for the sake of his carnal pleasure, and 
not for gain, the plague of a curst ill-natured shrew, that is 
always scolding. The first of which love-martyrs Philip- 
pides the comedian thus derided in the person of Stratocles 
the rhetorician: 

She lowers and growls and turns her tail 

With fury so unkind, 
The wittol blest would think himself. 

To kiss her coif behind. 

Now if this be the passion you talk of which is to be called 
Love, it is a spurious and effeminate love that sends us to 
the women's chambers, as it were to the Cynosarges at 
Athens. Or rather, as they say there is a sort of generous 
and true bred mountain eagle, which Homer calls the black 
eagle and eagle of prey, and then again there is another 
sort of bastard eagle, that takes fish and birds that are lazy 
and slow of flight, and wanting food makes a shrill and 
mournful noise for hunger ; thus the true genuine love is 
that of boys, not flaming with concupiscence, as according 
to Anacrcon the love of maids and virgins does, neither 
besmeared with odoriferous ointments, nor alluring with 
smiles and rolHng glances ; but you shall find him plain 
and simple and undebauched with pleasures in the schools 
of the philosophers, or in the wrestling-lists and places of 
public exercise, smart and generous in the chase of youth, 
and exhorting to virtue all that he finds to be fit objects of 
his diligence ; whereas that other love, nice and effeminate, 
and always nestling in the bosoms and beds of women, pur- 
suing soft pleasures, and wasted with unmanly delights, 
that have no gust of friendship or heavenly ravishment of 

260 OF LOVE. 

mind, is to be despised and rejected of all mankind. This 
indeed Solon did, when he forbade slaves and servants the 
use of male familiarity and of dry ointment, but granted 
them the liberty to accompany with women ; as looking 
upon friendship to be laudable and civil, but pleasure to 
be a vulgar thing and unbecoming a m;m born free 
Whence it appears that to make love to a slave boy is 
io:noble and unworthv of a freeman ; for this is mere mis 
chievous love of copulation, like the affection toward 

5. Now while Protogenes was desirous to say more, 
Daphnaeus interrupting him said: Truly you have done 
well to put us in mind of Solon, and we may make use of 
him as the judge of a person addicted to love. Hear what 
he says : 

Tlien dote upon the flowery youth of boys, 
Their fragrant breatli admiring and soft thighs. 

Add to this of Solon that other of Aeschylus : 

Ungrateful, for the kisses of my lips, 
Not to-revere the glory of my hips. 

These are proper judges of love ; but others there are who 
deride all those that would have lovers inspect thighs and 
haunches, like so many sacrificers and diviners. And for 
my part I draw from hence a very strong argument on the 
behalf of the women. For if male converse, which is 
altogether against nature, neither extinguishes nor is any 
ways noxious to amorous affection, much more probable is it 
that the love of women, which is according to nature, should 
reach to the consummation of friendship, by virtue of that 
obsequious beauty which attends it. For I must telt you, 
Protogenes, the submission of the female to the male was 
biy the ancients expressed by the word xf^Qf? (grace oy favor). 
For whicli reason Pindar observes that Vulcan was by 
Juno brought forth without the graces ; and Sappho tells 
a young virgin, not yet ripe for matrimony, 


OF LOVE. 261 

A little child thou seem'st, and without grace. 

And a certain person puts the question to Hercules, 

By force or by persuasion did the maid 
Her favors yield ? 

But the submission of males to males, whether it be by 
compulsion and strength, like a violent and forcible rape, 
or whether it be vokmtarv, — men sufFerinsr themselves 
weakly and effeminately to be covered by each other, like 
four-footed beasts, and counterfeiting the act of generation 
in defiance of nature (as Plato says), — is void of all grace, 
brutish, and contrary to the end of venereal pleasure. 
Wherefore I am apt to believe that Solon wrote those lines 
when he was young, brisk, and full of seed (as Plato 
phrases it), but when he was grown into years, he sang 
another note : 

The sports of Venus, now, are my delight, 

Or else witli Bacchus to carouse ; 
At otl'.er times the Muses' cliarms invite ; 
These are the chiefest pleasures mankind knows ; — 

as if he had altered his course of life, and retired from the 
storms and tempests of pederastic fury into the calms of 
wedlock and philosophy. Now then, Protogenes, let us 
but consider the truth of the matter, we shall find the pas- 
sion of lovers to be the same, whether it be for boys or for 
women ; or if, out of a contentious humor, you will dis- 
tinguish them, you shall find that this affection for boys 
does not keep itself within bounds, but like a late-born 
issue, clandestinely brought forth in the dark and out of 
season, it strives to expel the truly genuine and legitimate 
love, which is much the more ancient. For give me leave 
to toll ye, my dear friend, it is but (as it were) of yestcr- 
terday's standing or of the day before — since young boys 
began to strip and show themselves naked in the public 
places of exercise — that this frenzy, getting in by degrees 
and crowding in there, afterwards by little and little be- 

262 OF LOVE. 


came better fledged and gathered strength of wings in the 
wrestling- rings, so that now the insolence of it can no 
longer be so restrained but that still it will be afl'ronting and 
adalterating conjugal love, which is the coadjutrix of Na 
ture and helps to immortalize mortal mankind, raising up 
and imm.ediately restoring again by generation our human 
nature when it has been extinguished by death. But thisi 
same Protogenes denies there is any pleasure in male con- 
cupiscence, for he is ashamed and afraid to acknowledge 
it. Therefore there must be some decent pretence for the 
feeling and handhng these adult and lovely youths. And 
truly he has foiuid out a very clever excuse, alleging it to, 
be for the sake of friendship and virtue. Therefore he 
rolls himself in the dust, Avashes with cold water, erects his 
brows, and outwardly pretends to philosophy and chastity,! 
for fear of the law; but when darkness covers the earth,' 
and all people have betaken themselves to their rest, 

Sweet tlie ripe fruit lie finds, its keeper gone. 

Now if it be as Protogenes says, that no carnal conjunction] 
attends these masculine familiarities, how can it be love, 
when Venus is absent ; seeing that of all the Goddesses,] 
she it is that Cupid is bound to obey and attend, and thai 
he has no honor or power but what she confers upon himlj 
But if there be a sort of love without Venus, as a man] 
may be drunk without wine by drinking the decoctions of 
figs or barley, the disturbance of such a love must prove] 
fruitless and to no end, and consequently loathsome and] 

6. These things thus said, it was apparent that Pisias] 
found himself touched to the quick, and much concerne( 
for what Daphnaeus had spoken. But after he had beei 
silent awhile, O Hercules, said he, what a strange impu- 
dence and levity is this in men, to acknowledge themselves" 
tied to women by their generating parts, like dogs to 

OF LOVE. 263 

bitches ; by this means expelling and banishing love from 
the places of exercise, from the public porticos, and from 
conversing under the open sky and sunshine, to the stews, 
poniards, philters, and sorceries of lascivious women ; for 
it is not convenient for the chaste either to love or to 
be beloved. At which words, as my father told me, he 
took Protogenes by the hand, and repeated to him these 
verses : 

Words such as these the Argive courage warm ; 
And the aflfronted youth provoke to arm. 

For surely (he added) the exorbitant language of Pisias 
gives us good reason to take Daphnaeus's part, while he 
introduces over the head of wedlock a society void of love, 
and utterly a stranger to that same friendship which 
descends and is inspired from above ; which, if real affec- 
tion and submission be wanting, can hardly be restrained 
by all the curbs and yokes of shame and fear. Then 
Pisias : For my part, said he, I give little heed to this 
argument ; for as for Daphnaeus, I find him in the same 
condition wdth brass. For as brass is not so easily melted 
by the fire as by the force of the same melted and liquid 
metal being poured upon it, which mollifies both alike, and 
causes them to run and mix together ; so it is not the beauty 
of Lysandra that inflames him, but the conversing along 
with one that is already inflamed and full of fire, that sets 
him all in a flame himself; and it is apparent that, unless 
he makes haste to us, he will suddenly be melted with his 
own heat. But I perceive, said he, the same thing will 
befall me which Anthemion has most reason to desire, that 
I too shall offend the judges ; and therefore I shall say 
no more. Then Anthemion: Tis very true indeed, your 
fear is just; for you ought at the first to have spoken to 
the purpose, and what was proper to the argument in 

7. To this Pisias replied : 1 am willing enough that 

264 OF LOVE. 

every woman should have her lover ; but withal, it very 
much concerns Baccho to have a care how he entangles 
himself in Ismenodora's wealth ; lest, while we match him 
with so much grandeur and magnificence, we consume him 
to nothing, like tin among brass. For I must tell you, it 
would be a hard matter for so young a stripling as he is, 
though he should marry a plain and ordinary woman, to 
keep the upper hand, like wine mixed with water. But 
we see her already design superiority and command ; else 
why should she refuse so many suitors of great wealth and 
noble extraction that court her daily, to woo herself a mere 
boy, that has but newly assumed the robes of manhood 
and is more fit to go to school than to marry. And tliere- 
fore those husbands that are wise, without any admonition, 
out of their own foresight, clip their wives' wings them- 
selves ; that is, they prune away their riches, that prompt 
them to luxury and vanity, and render them inconstant and 
foolish. For many times, by the help of these wings, they 
soar out of their husbands' reach and fly quite away ; or if 
they stay at home, better it were for a man to be chained 
with fetters of gold, as they chain their prisoners in Ethi- 
opia, than to be tied to the riches of a wife. 

8. However, said Protogenes, he has not hinted to us in 
the least the hazard we run of inverting absurdly and 
ridiculously the counsel of Hesiod, whose words are 
these : 

Take to thy home a woman for thy bride 
When in the ripeness of thy manhood's pride : 
Thrice ten thy sum of years, the nuptial prime ; 
Nor far fall short, nor far exceed the time. 
Four years the ripening virgin sliould consume. 
And wed the fifth of her expanded bloom * 

Quite contrary to this precept, we are going about to 
couple a young lad, scarce ripe for marriage, to a lady 
much older than himself ; like those that graft the tender 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 696, translated by Elton. 

OF LOVE. 265 

scions of dates and fig-trees upon old stocks, to make them 
bear fruit before their season. But yon will say, The woman 
is in love up to the ears, and burns with desire. Who is he 
that will hinder her from masquerading before his doors, 
from singing her amorous lamentanons at his windows, 
from adorning his statues with chaplets and garlands of 
flowers, from duelHng her rivals, and winning him from 
them all by feats of arms? For these are acts that demon- 
strate the height of a passionate affection. Let lier knit 
her brows, refrain all manner of pomp of luxury ; let her 
put on a garb and countenance suitable to such a violent 
passion. Bat if bashful and modest, let her sit at home, 
expecting her suitors and gallants to come and court her 
there. But who would not fly and abominate a woman 
that professes love, and loathe the idea of taking one to 
wife who makes such an impudent incontinence the first 
step to future nuptials ? 

9. When Protogenes had thus concluded ; Do you not 
see, Anthemion, saith my father, how they again make 
common cause against us, enforcing us still to continue our 
discourse of nuptial love, ^vho deny not ourselves to be the 
upholders of it, nor ever avoided the being one of that 
celebrated chorus ] Most certainly I do, replied Anthemion ; 
therefore proceed in the defence of conjugal aflection ; and 
let us liave also your assistance in maintaining the argu- 
ment about riches, with which Pisias chiefly seems to scare 
us. 'Tis the least we can do, said my father ; for what in 
the Avorld will not be made a reproach to womankind, 
should w^e reject Ismcnodora because she is in love and 
wealthy to boot? Grant that she is imperious as well as 
rich. What then if she is beautiful and young? What 
if she is somewhat stately and haughty, by reason of her 
illustrious birth ? There is nothing of crabbedness, nothing 
scornful, nothing sour, nothing troublesome, in women 
truly chaste and modest. And yet their very chastity gains 

266 or LOVE. 

them the name of shrews and furies. But you will i 
since it may be a man's misfortune to be so hampered, 
would it not be better to marry some Thracian Abrotonon 
or some Milesian Bacchis, whom he can get in the market 
for money and a handful of nuts? And yet we have 
known some men that have been miserably henpecked by 
this sort of underlings. The Samian minstrels and morris- 
dancers, such as were Aristonica, Oenanthe with her tabor 
and pipe, and Agathoclia, insulted over the diadems of 
sovereigns. The Syrian Semiramis was a poor wench, kept 
by one of Ninus's slaves, partly as his servant, partly as his 
harlot, till Ninus, meeting her and taking a fancy to her, 
at length doted upon her to that degree, that she not only 
governed him as she pleased herself, but contemned him; 
so that, finding she had got the absolute mastery over him, 
she became so bold as to desire him to do her the favor to 
see her sit but one day upon his throne, with the royal 
diadem upon her head, dispatching the public business. 
To which the king consenting, and giving order to all his 
officers to yield her the same obedience as to himself, at 
first she was very moderate in her commands, only to make 
trial of the guards about her; but when she saw that they 
obeyed her without the least hesitation or murmuring, she 
commanded them first to lay hold of Ninus himself, then 
to bind him, at length to kill him. Which being done, she 
took the government upon herself, and reigned victoriously 
over all Asia with great splendor and renown. 

And was not Belestiche a barbarian courtesan bought 
in the market, in whose honor the Alexandrians erected 
temples and altars, with inscriptions to Venus Belestiche 
as marks of the kings affection to her'? And as for her 
who is in this very city enshrined in the same temple and 
honored with the same solemnities as Cupid, and whose 
gilded statue stands among kings and queens at Del[)hi, 
— I would fain know what dowry of hers it was that 


brought so many lovers into such subjection to her* But 
as those great men, through their softness and effeminacy, 
became a prey to those women ; so on the other side, men 
of low and mean condition, having married Avomen both 
wealthy and of splendid extraction, neither lowered sail 
nor abated any thing of their courage and greatness of 
mind, but lived together with their wives, always honoring 
them, and keeping that superiority over them which was 
their riglit and due. But he that contracts and reduces 
his wife witliin a narrow compass, and makes her less, like 
a ring that is too big for the finger, to prevent her from 
dropping off, is like to those that dock off their mares' 
tails and clip their manes, and then lead them to a river or 
pond ; for it is reported, that when those mares perceive 
themselves so ill favoredly shorn and disfigured, they lose 
their natural courage, and will afterwards suffer themselves 
to be covered by asses. 

Now, as it is a base thing to prefer the riches of a woman 
above her virtue or nobility, so is it as great folly to reject 
wealth, when accompanied wdth virtue and illustrious par- 
entage. Antigonus writing to a captain of his, whom he 
had ordered to fortify the hill Munychia, bade him not only 
make the collar strong but keep the dog lean ; intimating 
thereby that he should take care to impoverish the Athe- 
nians. But there is no necessity for the husband of a rich 
and beautiful wife to make her poor or to disfigure her ; 
but by self-control and prudence, and by seeming not to 
admire any thing extravagantly in her, to carry himself so 
that she may perceive that, as he designs not to be a tyrant, 
so she must not expect him to be her subject; giving his 
own character that weight in the balance, that the scale 
may be turned without offence and for the good of both. 

* The famous courtesan Pliryne was a native of Thcspine, where her niarblo 
Btatue stood in tlie temple of J^ove. She also sent her own statue by IVaxitelea 
(who was her lover) to tlie temple at Delphi. See Paueanias, X. 15, 1. (G.) 

268 OF LOVE. 

Now, as for Ismenodora, her years are fit for marriage, and 
she is a woman most likely to bear children ; nay, I am 
informed that she is now in her prime. For, continued he, 
smiling upon Pisias, she is not elder than any of her 
rivals ; neither has she any gray hairs, as some that keep 
company with Baccho. Now if those people think their 
converse with the youns^ gentleman no way misbecoming 
their gravity, what hinders but that she may affect and 
cherish him better than any young virgin whatever ? For 
I must needs say, it is a difficult matter many times rightly 
to mix and blend the tempers of young people ; in regard 
it will require some time to make them sensible of several 
extravagancies which they may commit, until they have 
laid aside the pride and wantonness which is incident to 
youth. For many a blustering tempest will happen be- 
tween the new-married couple before they can be brought 
to endure the yoke, and draw quietly together, more espe- 
cially if the God of Love ajipear among them ; and youth- 
ful wantonness — like the wind in the absence of the pilot 
— will disturb and confuse the happiness of the match, 
while the one has not skill to govern and the other refuses 
to be governed. Now then, if it be so that nurses are 
sought for to look after sucking infants, and schoolmasters 
to teach children ; if masters of exercise direct young 
striplings, and the lover his youth ; if the law and the 
captain-general govern those that are of age, so that no 
man can be said to be at his own liberty to do what he 
list; where is the absurdity for a wife, that has wit and 
discretion and the advantage of years, to govern and direct 
the life and conversation of a youthful husband, profitable 
to him as exceeding him in wisdom, and augmenting the 
pleasure of her society by the sweetness of her disposition 
and reality of affection] To conclude, said he, we that 
are Boeotians ourselves ought to reverence Flerculcs, and 
not to be offended with those that marry women elder than 

OF LOVE. 269 

themselves ; knowing, as we do, that even Hercules him- 
self gave his own wife Megara, being then tliree and thirty 
years old, to lolaus his son, being no more than sixteen 
years of age. 

10. While they were in the midst of these discourses, 
one of Pisias's companions and friends, as my fixther re- 
ported, came galloping towards them out of the city, whip 
and spur, to bring the news of a strange and wonderful 
accident. For Isaienodora, believing that Bacclio no way 
disliked being married to her, but only was deterred by the 
importunities of his friends that dissuaded him from the 
match, resolved not to let the young man escape her. To 
this purpose she sent for certain sparks of her acquaint- 
ance, whom she knew to be stout and resolute young 
gentlemen, and some women that were well-wishers to her 
amours, and observing the hour that Baccho was wont to 
pass by her house to the wrestling-place, well attended and 
decently garbed, one day when he came near the outermost 
door, anointed as he was for the exercise, with two or three 
more in the same posture, she met him in the street, and 
gently twitched his upper coat. This signal being given, 
her friends rushed forth, and fairly and softly catching 
him up in his mandilion and doublet, in a huddle together 
they carried him into the house, and locked the door fast 
after them. Then came the women also, and pulling off 
his mandilion, threw about him a costly nuptial garment. 
The servants likewise, running up and down from one place 
to another, adorned the posts not only of Ismenodora's 
but of Baccho's house with olive and laurel boughs; and 
a minstrel likewise was ordered to pipe along the street. 
The story thus related, the Thespians and strangers some 
of them laughed, some others were heinously offended, 
and did what they could to exasperate the presidents of 
the public exercises. For they have a great command over 
the young gentlemen, and keep a severe and vigilant eye 

270 OF LOVE. 

upon all their actions. And now there was not a word 
said of the sports that were intended ; but all the ;^eople, 
forsaking the theatre, flocked to Ismenodora's house, dis- 
coursing and debating the matter one among another. 

11. But when Pisias's friend, with his horse all foaminsr 
and in a sweat, as if he had brought intelligence from the 
army in time of war, had delivered his news, being hardly 
able to speak for want of breath, and concluding his story 
with saying that Ismenodora had ravished Baccho ; my 
father told me, that Zeuxippus fell a laughing, and as he 
was a great admirer of that poet, repeated the verses of 
Euripides : 

Wanton Avitli wealth, fair lady, thou hast done 
No more tlian nature teaches every one. 

But Pisias, starting up out of his seat, made a great ex- 
clamation, crying out: O ye Gods! when will ye put aul 
end to this licentiousness, that will in the end subvert ourj 
city 1 For now all things are running into disorder through] 
violation of the laws ; but perhaps it is now looked upon] 
as a slight matter to transgress the law and violate justice, 
for even the law of nature is transgressed and broken by 
the insolent anarchy of the female sex. Was ever there 
any such thing committed in the island of Lemnos ? Let 
us go, said he, let us go and deliver up the wrestling-place 
and the council house to the women, if the city be so effem- 
inate as to put up with these indignities. Thus Pisias 
brake from the company in a fury ; nor would Protogenes 
leave him, partly offended at what had happened, and 
partly to assuage and mollify his friend. But Anthemion : 
Twas a juvenile bold attempt, said he, and a truly Lem- 
nian one — I venture to say so since we are now by our- 
selves — of a lady warmly in love. To whom Soclarus 
smiling : Do you then believe, said he, that this was a real 
ravishment and force, and not rather a stratagem of the 
young man's own contrivance (for he has wit at will), to 

OF LOVE. 271 

the end he might escape out of the hands of his ruder male 
Jovers into the embraces of a fair and rich widow] Never 
say so, said Anthemion, nor have such a suspicion of Bac- 
cho. For were he not naturally, as he is, of a plain and 
open temper, he would still never have concealed this thing 
from me, to whom he has always imparted his secrets, and 
whom he knew to be always a favorer of Ismenodora's de- 
sign. But, according to the saying of Heraclitus, it is a 
hard matter to withstand love, not anger ; for whatever love 
has a desire to, it will purchase with the hazard of life, 
fortune, and reputation. Now where is there a more mod- 
est and orderly woman in all our city than Ismenodora ? 
When did you ever hear an ill word spoken of her ] Or 
when did ever any thing done in her house give the least 
suspicion of an ill act ? Rather we may say that she seems 
to be inspired beyond other women with something above 
human reason. 

12. Then Pemptides smiling: Truly, said he, there is a 
certain disease of the body, whicli they call sacred ; so that 
it is no wonder if some men give the appellation of sacred 
and divine to the most raging and vehement passion of the 
mind. But as in Egypt once I saw two neighbors hotly 
contending about a serpent which crept before them in the 
road, while both concluded it to be good luck, and each 
assumed the happy omen to himself; so seeing some of 
you at this time haling love into the chambers of men, 
others into the cabinets of the women, as a divinely tran- 
scendent good, I do not wonder, since it is a passion so 
powerful and greatly esteemed, that it is magniiied and 
held in greatest veneration by those that have most reason 
to clip its wings and expel and drive it from them. Hith- 
erto therefore 1 have been silent, perceiving the debate to 
be rather about a particular concern, than any thing for 
the public good. But now that Pisias is gone, I would 
willingly understand from one of you, upon what account 


272 OF LOVE. 

it was thnt they who first discoursed of love were so fon 
to deify it. 

13. So soon as Pemptides had done, and my father wa 
ahout to say something in answer to his question, anothe 
messenger came from the city inlsmenodora's name, request 
ing Authemion to come to her ; for that the tumult increased, 
and the presidents of the games could not agree, while one 
was of opinion that Baccho was to be demanded and deliv- 
ered into their hands, and the other thought it an imper 
tinence to meddle with that which nothing concerned them. 

Thus Authemion being gone, my father addressed him- 
self to Pemptides by name, and so entered into the follow- 
ing discourse: You seem to me, sir, to have hit upon a 
very strange and nice point, or rather, as I may so say, to 
have endeavored to stir things which are not to be moved, 
in reference to the opinion which we have of the Gods^ 
while you demand a reason and demonstration of every 
thing in particular. For it is sufficient to believe accord- 
ing to the faith of our forefathers and the instructions of 
the country where we have been bred and born, than which 
we cannot utter or invent a more certain argument ; 

For surely all the wit of human brain 
This part of knowledge never could attain.* 

For this is a foundation and basis common to all piety and 
religion ; of which if the steady rule and decreed maxims 
be once disordered and shaken, all the rest must totter and 
become suspected. And no question but you have heard 
what a clamor was raised against Euripides when he made 
this beginning of his Melanippe : 

Jupiter, if his name be so ; 

'Tis only by hearsay that I know, f 

But when he exhibited the tragedy a second time, he seems 
to have had such a confidence in the lofty style and elabo- 
rate eloquence of his work, that he thus altered the verse: 

* Eurip. Bacchae, 203. f Eurip. Melanippe, Frag. 483 and 481. 


OF LOVE. 273 

Jove, for we own he has received that name 
From truth alone, and not from common fame.* 

What difference then is there between calling in question 
the name of Jupiter and Minerva, and doubting of the 
name of Cupid or Love 1 For it is not of late that Love 
has challenged altars and sacrifices, neither is he a foreigner 
started up out of any barbarian superstition, as were the 
Attae and the Adonii, introduced by I know not what sort 
of hermaphrodites and idle women. Nor has he clandes- 
tinely crept into honors no way becoming him, to avoid the 
accusation of bastardy and being unduly enrolled in the 
catalogue of the Gods. But when you hear Empedocles 
thus saying. 

And friendship too (observe my song) 
Is like to these, both broad and long ; 
But this thou must not think to find 
With eyes of body, but of mind, 

you ought to believe all this to be said of Love. For Love 
is no more visible than any of the rest of the ancient Dei- 
ties, but apprehended only by opinion and belief; for every 
one of which if you require a reason and demonstrative 
argument, by enquiring after every temple and making a 
sophistical doubt upon every altar, you shall find nothing, 
free from inquisition and malicious slander. For, that I 
may go no farther, observe but these : . 

I do not Venus see with mortal eyes, 
The Goddess unto whom we sacrifice ; 
Yet this is she that mighty Cupid bare. 
Whose offspring all terrestrial beings are.t 

Therefore Empedocles gives her the epithet of the Giver 
of Life, and Sophocles calls her Fruitful ; both very aptly 
and pertinently. For indeed the great and wonderful work 
of generation is properly the work of Venus, where Love 
is only an assistant when present with Venus ; but his ab- 
sence renders the act itself altogether irksome, dishonor- 

* See Aristoph. Frogs, 1244. t Euripides, Frag. 890. 

VOL. IV. 18 

274 OF LOVE. 

able, harsh, and ungrateful. For the conjunction of man' 
and woman without true affection, like hunger and thirst, 
terminates in satiety, and produces nothing truly noble or 
commendable ; but when the Goddess by means of Love 
puts away all loathsome glut of pleasure, she perpetuates 
delight by a continual supply of friendship and harmony 
of temper. Therefore Parmenides asserts Love to be the 
most ancient of all the works of Venus, writing thus in his 
Cosmogony : 

Of all the Gods that rule above, 

She first brought forth the mighty Love. 

But Hesiod, in my opinion, seems more philosophically] 
to make Love the eldest of all the Gods, as from whom] 
all the other Deities derive their beginning. Therefore, ^ 
should we deprive Love of the honors which are decreed' 
him, the ceremonies we ascribe to Venus will be no longer 
in request. For it is not sufficient to say, that some menj 
reproach Love and load him with contumelies, but abstain! 
from giving her an ill word ; for upon the same theatre wei 
hear these scandals fixed upon both: 

Love, idle of himself, takes up his rest 
And harbors only in the slothful breast.* 

And in another place thus upon Venus : 

She does not the name of Cypris only own, 
But by a hundred other names is known : 
She's hell on earth, continued violence, 
And rage subduing all the force of sense.t 

As indeed we may say of the rest of the Gods, that there 
is not one that has escaped the scandalous jibes of illiterate 
scurrility. Look upon Mars, as in a brazen sculpture, pos- 
sessing the place just opposite to Love, how highly has he 
been honored, how lowly degraded by men 1 

Swine-snouted Mars, and as a beetle blind, -- 
'Tis he, fair dames, disorders all mankind.} 

Homer also gives him the epithets of murderous and Jack- 

» Eurip. Danae, Frag. 324. t Sophocles, Frag. 856. J Sophocles. Frag. 764. 


OF LOVE. 275 

a-both-sides. Moreover, Chrysippus, explaining the name 
of this Deity, fixes a villanous accusation upon him. For, 
says he, Ares is derived from dvaiQnv, which signifies to de- 
stroy ; thereby affording an occasion for some to give the 
name of Ares or Mars to that same proneness and per- 
verse inclination of men to wrath and passion, and to 
quarrel and fight one with another. Others affirm Venus 
to be nothing but our concupiscence ; that Mercury is no 
more than the faculty of speech ; that the Muses are only 
the names for the arts and sciences ; and that Minerva 
is only a fine word for prudence. And thus you see into 
what an abyss of atheism we are like to plunge ourselves, 
while we go about to range and distribute the Gods among 
the various passions, faculties, and virtues of men. 

14. I plainly perceive it, replied Pemptides ; for I 
neither believe it lawful to make the Gods to be pas- 
sions, nor on the other side, to make the passions to be 
Deities. To whom my father: Well then, said he, do 
you believe Mars to be a God, or a passion of ours ? To 
which when Pemptides replied, that he thought Mars to 
be the Deity that rectified the angry and courageous part 
of man ; my father presently retorted upon him : Why 
then 1 said he, shall our passionate part, and those wrathful 
inclinations within us that provoke us to mischief and 
bloodshed, have a Deity to overrule and govern them ; and 
will you not allow the same guardianship over our better 
propensities to love, friendship, society, and peace 1 Is 
there a Deity called Enyalius and Stratius that presides 
and has the superintendence over those that kill and are 
sh\in, a Deity that bears rule in matters of arms, all war- 
like preparations, assaults of cities, and depredations of 
countries, and distributes rewards as he sees occasion ; and 
shall there be no Deity to be a witness and overseer, 
a supreme governor and director, of conjugal affection, 
which terminates in concord and happy society? Nay, 


1PSS ' 

276 OF LOVE.. 

do we find that they who make it their sport to hunt wild 
goats, hares, and deer, are not without their forest Deity 
to encourage them ; and they that make it their business 
to trepan wolves and bears into snares and pitfalls, pray 
for good luck to Aristaeus, 

Who first of all for the wild beasts of prey 
With gins and snares in secret ambush lay ; 

and that Hercules, having bent his bow, before he let ily 
at the bird which he intended to hit, invoked another 
Deity, as we find in Aeschylus, 

Hunter Apollo, and to hunters kind, 
Direct this arrow to the mark designed ; * 

but for men that hunt the most noble game of love and 
friendship, is there no God nor so much as one Daemon 
to assist and prosper so laudable an enterprise? Truly, 
Daphnaeus, for my part, I cannot believe a man to be a 
more inconsiderable plant than an oak or mulberry tree, 
or the vine which Homer reverently calls by the name of 
Hemeris, considering that man in his due season also is 
endued with a powerful faculty to bud and pleasantly put 
forth the beauties both of his body and mind. 

15. To whom Daphnaeus : In the name of all the Gods, 
who ever thought otherwise 1 All those must certainly, re- 
plied my father, who believe the care of ploughing, sow- 
ing, and planting is an employment becoming the Gods 
(and have they not for this purpose certain Nymphs attend- 
ing them, called Dryads, 

Who with the trees they cherish live and die ? — 

and does not 

The joyous Bacchus send increase of fruit, 
The chaste autumnal light, to every tree 1 — 

as Pindar sings), and who yet will not allow that 
nourishment and growth of children and young people, 
who in the flower of their age are to be formed and shaped 

* From the Prometheus Released of Aeschylus, Frag. 195. 

OF LOVE. 277 

into several varieties of beauty, is under the care and 
tuition of any Deity ; or that there is any Divinity to take 
care that man, being once born, may be guided and con- 
ducted in the true paths of virtue, and to prevent the ten- 
der plant from being bowed and bent the wrong way for 
want of a good instructor, or by the depraved conversation 
of those with whom he lives. For my part, I look upon 
it as a heinous piece of indignity and ingratitude thus to 
say, while we are all the time enjoying the bounty and 
benignity of God, which he is ready to disperse and diffuse 
over all, and which never abandons the distresses and 
needs of mortals. And yet in many of these needs the 
duty to be performed is rather necessary than pleasant. 
Thus our being delivered from the mother s womb is no 
such delightfid thing, as being attended with pain and 
issues of blood ; and yet there is a celestial midwife and 
overseer that takes particular care of that necessity, which 
is Lucina. And indeed a man had better never be born, 
than to be made bad and wicked for want of a good tutor 
and guardian. Nay, we find that the divine power does 
not desert us in our sickness, nor after we are dead ; there 
being still some Deity or other who claims some certain 
peculiar employment or function, even upon those occa- 
sions. Among the rest, there is one that helps to convey 
the souls of such as have ended this life into the other 
world, and lays them asleep, according to this of the poet: 

For shady night ne'er brought me forth to play 
With artful touch upon the tuneful lyre, 
Nor to be mistress of prophetic fire, 
Nor pains of rude distempers to allay ; 
But to convey tlie souls of the deceased 
Each one to their appointed place of rest.* 

Nevertheless these ministerial functions have many diffi- 
cultiesand troubles which attend them; whereas we can- 
not imagine any employment more holy, any exercise more 

* See Nauck, Frag. Adesp. 833 

278 OF LOVE. 

sacred, or any contention for prize and glory more becom 
ing a Deity, than to direct and assist the lawful endeavors 
and pursuits of lovers in their prime of years and beauty 
There is nothing dishonorable, nothing of forced necessity 
in this ; but gentle persuasion and alluring grace, render- 
ing labor delightful, leads to virtue and friendship, which 
never attains the true accomplishment of the end it aims^ 
at without some divine assistance, nor can have any other 
conductor and master than Cupid himself, who is the friend 
and companion of the Muses, the Graces, and Venus his 
own mother. For, according to Melannippides, 

Great Love it is, that in tlie heart of man 
Sows the sweet harvest of unstained desire ; 

and he always mingles those things that are sweetest with' 
those that are fairest. What do you say, Zeuxippus ? Cau 
we believe it to be otherwise 1 

16. In truth, I judge it so, replied Zeuxippus; and I 
think it would be absurd to affirm the contrary. And 
would it not be absurd indeed, said my fathei*, since there 
are four sorts of friendships, according to the determina^ 
tion of the ancients, — the first, say they, is natural, the 
next is that of kindred and relations, the third is that of 
friends and acquaintance, and last is that of lovers, — if 
three of these have their several tutelar Deities, under the 
names of the patron of friendship, the patron of hospitali- 
ty, and he who knits affection between those of the same 
race and family ; while only amorous affection, as if it 
were unhallowed and under interdiction, is left without any 
guardian or protector, which indeed requires the greatest 
care and government above all the rest ? All that you say, 
replied Zeuxippus, is undeniable. 

By the way, replied my father, we may here take notice 
of what Plato says upon this subject, as pertinent to our 
discourse. For he says, that there is a certain madness trans- 
mitted from the body to the soul, proceeding from a malig- 

OF LOVE. 279 

nant mixture of ill-humors, or a noxious vapor or rather 
pernicious spirit that possesses the heart ; which madness 
is a rugged and terrible disease. The other is a kind of 
fury, partaking something of divine inspiration ; neither 
is it engendered within, but is an insufflation from without, 
and a disturbance of the rational and considerative faculty, 
deriving its beginning and motion from some stronger 
power ; the common affection of which is called the en- 
thusiastic passion. For as sfiTtvoog signifies filled with 
breathy and 8[iq)Q(ov denotes 7'eplete with prudence ; so this 
commotion of the soul is called enthusiasm (from h&eog) by 
reason it participates of a more divine power. Now the 
prophetic part of enthusiasm derives itself from the in- 
spiration of Apollo possessing the intellect of the sooth- 
sayer ; but Bacchanal fury proceeds from Father Bacchus. 

And with the Corybantes ye shall dance, 

says Sophocles. For as for the extravagancies of the 
priests of Cybele, the mother of the Gods, and those 
which are called panic terrors and ejaculations, they are 
all of the same nature with the Bacchanal orgies. There 
is also a third sort of enthusiasm, proper to the Muses, 
which, possessing an even tempered and placid soul, ex- 
cites and rouses up the gifts of poetry and music. But as 
for that same warlike fury which is called Arimanian, it is 
well known to descend from the God of War ; a sort of 
fury, wherein there is no grace nor musical sweetness, call- 
ing forth tearful Mars, and rousing up the people to dis- 
cord and tumult.* 

There remains yet one sort more of alienation of the 
understanding in man, the same neither obscure, nor yet 
altogether calm and quiet; concerning which I would fain 
ask Pemptides, 

Which of tlie Gods it is who shakes the spear 
Tlmt beareth fruit so lovely and so fair. 

 See Aescliylus, Suppliants, 666. 

280 OF LOVE. 


But without expecting a resolution of this question, I mean 
that erotic fury that possesses lovely youths and chaste 
women, yet a hot and vehement transport. For do we not 
see how the warrior lays down his arms, and submits to 
this more prevalent rage ? 

His grooms, o'erjoyed he had the war forsook, 
His ponderous arms from off his shoulders took ; * 

and thus having renounced the hazards of battle, he sits 
down a quiet spectator of other men's dangers. As for 
these Bacchanalian motions and frisking of the Corybantes, 
there is a way to allay those extravagant transports, by 
changing the measure from the Trochaic and the tone from 
the Phrygian. And the Pythian prophetess, descending 
from her tripos and quitting the prophetic exhalation, be- 
comes sedate and calm again. Whereas the fury of love, 
wherever it seizes either man or woman, sets them in a 
flame ; no music, no appeasing incantations, no changes of 
place are able to quench or put a stop to it ; but being in 
presence, they love ; being absent, they desire ; by day 
they prosecute their importunate visits ; by night they 
serenade at the windows ; sober, they are continually call- 
ing upon their loves ; and when they are fuddled, are 
always teasing the company with their love songs and 
madrigals. Neither, as one was pleased to say, are poeti- 
cal fancies, by reason of their lively expressions, rightly 
called waking dreams ; but the dialogues of persons en- 
amored, discoursing with their absent loves, and dallying, 
embracing, and expostulating with them as if they were 
present, much rather deserve this name. For the sight 
seems to delineate other fancies in the water, that quickly 
glide away and slip out of the mind ; whereas the imagina- 
tions of lovers, being as it were enamelled by fire, leave the 
images of things imprinted in the memory, moving, living, 
speaking, and remaining for a long time. So that Cato 

* n. vii. 121. 

OF LOVE. 281 

the Roman was wont to say, that the soul of a lover dwelt 
in the soul of the person beloved, for that there is settled 
and fixed in the one the form, shape, manners, conversa- 
tion and actions of the other ; by which being led, the lover 
quickly dispatches a long journey, — as the Cynics say 
they have found a compendious and direct road to virtue, 
— and he is carried from love to friendship, as it were with 
wind and tide, the God of Love assisting his passion. In 
short then I say, that the enthusiasm of lovers is neither 
void of divine inspiration, neither is it under the guardian- 
ship and conduct of any other Deity but him whose festi- 
vals we solemnize, and to whom we offer our oblations. 
Nevertheless, in regard we measure the excellency of a 
Deity by his puissance and by the benefit which we receive 
at his hands, and esteem power and virtue to be the two 
chiefest and most divine of all human blessings, it may 
not be unseasonable to consider whether Love be inferior 
in power to any other of the Gods. For, according to 

Great is the puissance of the Cj'prian Queen, 
And great the honor which her triumphs win.* 

Great is also the dominion of Mars ; and indeed we see the 
power of all the rest of the Gods divided in some measure 
between these two, — the one being most naturally allied 
to the beautiful, the other most mighty in the resistance 
of evil, and both being originally bred in the soul, as Plato 
says of his ideas. 

Now then let us consider, the venereal delight is a thing 
that may be purchased for a drachm, and there is no man 
that ever underwent any pain or danger for the sake of 
venereal enjoyments, unless he were inflamed with the 
fires of love. Insomuch, that not to mention such courte- 
sans as either Phryne or Lais, we find that the harlot 
■^ Gnathaenion, 

B  Soph. Tracliin. 407. 


282 OF LOVE. 

By lanthorn-light, at evening late, 
Waiting and calling for some mate, 

is often passed by and neglected ; 

But if some spirit blow the fire, 
Kindled by love's extreme desire, 

this makes the pleasure equally esteemed and valued with 
the treasures of Tantalus and all his vast dominions. So 
faint and so soon cloyed is venereal desire, unless rendered 
grateful by the charms and inspiration of love. Which 
is more evidently confirmed by this ; for that many men 
admit others to partake of their venereal pleasures, prosti- 
tuting not only their mistresses and concubines, but also their 
own wives, to the embraces of their friends ; as it is reported 
of the Iloman Gabba, who inviting Maecenas to his house, 
and perceiving him winking and nodding upon his wife, 
turned away his head upon his pillow, as if he had been 
asleep, while they dallied together ; yet at the same time, 
when one of the servants came creeping out of the next 
room, to steal a bottle of wine from the cupboard, presently 
turning about with his eyes open, Varlet, said he, 'tis only 
to pleasure Maecenas that I sleep. But this perhaps is not 
so strange, considering that Gabba was a low buffoon. 

At Argos there was a great animosity between Nicostra- 
tus and Phayllus, so that they always opposed each other 
and quarrelled at the council-board. Now when King 
Philip made a visit to that city, Phayllus bethought him- 
self, that he could not miss the highest preferment the gov- 
ernment could afford, if he could but oblige the king with 
the company of his wife, who was both beautiful and young. 
Nicostratus, smelling this design, walked to and fro before 
Phayllus's house with some of his servants, to observe who 
went in and out. They had not stayed long, but out came 
Phayllus's wife, whom he had dressed up in high shoes, 
with a mantle and cap after the Macedonian fashion, like 
one of the king's pages, in which disguise she secretly 


OF LOVE. 283 

passed in to the king's lodgings. Since then there ever 
were and still are so many lovers, did you ever know of 
any one that ever prostituted his particular male friend, 
though it were to gain the honors ascribed to Jupiter him- 
self] Truly, I believe there never was any such. For 
why? There never was any one that would pretend to 
oppose and contend with a tyrant; but there are many 
rivals and competitors, that will quarrel and fight for boys 
that are beautiful and in the prime of their years. It is 
reported of Aristogiton the Athenian, Antileon of Metapon- 
tum, and Melanippus of Agrigentum, that they never con- 
tested with tjTants, though they wasted and ruined the com- 
monwealth and indulged the impetuosity of their lust, until 
they found them attempting their own male concubines : 
then they withstood them with the utmost peril of their 
lives, as if they had been to defend their temples and their 
most sacred sanctuaries. Alexander also is said to have sent 
to Theodorus, the brother of Proteas, in these words : Send 
me that musical girl that plays and sings so well, and take 
ten talents for her, unless thou lovest her thyself. Another 
time, when one of his minions, Antipatridas, came to be 
jovial with him, and brought a minstrel in his company to 
complete the mirth, being greatly affected with the girl's 
playing and singing, he asked Antipatridas whether he had 
any extraordinary kindness for her ] He answered, that he 
loved her as his eyes. Then all the plagues of mankind 
light upon thee, quoth the prince. However, he would not 
so much as touch the girl. 

17. Consider also what vast power love has over martial 
men and warriors, not slothful, as Euripides * will have it 
to be, nor un warlike, nor 

Slumbering on a girl's soft cheek, f 

For a man that is once inflamed with love wants not 

 Eurip. Danae, Frag. 824. t Soph. Antigone, 784. 

284 OF LOVE. 

Mars himself to be his second, when he is to engage 
with his enemies ; but confiding in the Deity that is within 

Ventures through fire and seas, and blustering storms, 
While love of friend his daring courage warms ; 

and breaks through all opposition, if his mistress require 
any proof of his valor. Therefore we read in Sophocles, 
that the daughters of Niobe being wounded with arrows to 
death, one of them, as she lay wallowing in blood, calls 
out for no other help or succor to assist her in her revenge, 
but her lover. 

Where is my love ? she cried ; 

Were 1 but armed with that, 
I yet would be revenged . 

For my untimely fate.* 

You know the reason why Cleomachus the Pharsalian fell 
in battle. I am a stranger to the story, replied Pemptides, 
and would willingly therefore hear it. Certainly it is very 
well worth your knowledge, said my father. 

In the heat of the war between the Chalcidians and the 
Eretrians, Cleomachus went with the Thessalian force to 
aid the Chalcidians ; at what time it was evident that the 
Chalcidians were the stronger in foot, but they found it a 
difficult thing to withstand the force of the enemies' horse. 
Thereupon they requested Cleomachus, being their confed- 
erate and a man signalized for his courage, to give the 
first onset upon the enemies' cavalry. Presently the youth 
whom he most entirely loved being present, he asked him 
whether he would stay and be a spectator of the combat. 
To which when the lad gave his consent, and after many 
tender. kisses and embraces had put on his helmet, Cleo- 
machus's love redoubling his courage, being surrounded 
with some few of the flower of the Thessalian horse, he 
charged into the thickest of the enemy and put them to 
the rout ; which the heavy-armed infantry seeing, they be- 

* Soph. Niobe, Frag. 407. 

OF LOVE. 285 

took themselves also to flight, so that the Chalcidians 
obtained a noble victory. However, Cleomachus was 
there slain, and the Chalcidians show his monument erected 
in the market-place, with a fViir pillar standing upon it to 
this day ; and whereas they abominated pederasty before, 
after that they admired and afl"ected it above all other 
pleasures. Nevertheless, Aristotle tells us that Cleoma- 
chus indeed lost his life after the victorious battle which 
he gained from the Eretrians, but as for that Cleomachus 
who was thus kissed by his male concubine, that he was 
of Chalcis in Thrace, and sent to aid the Chalcidians in 
Euboea. Which is the reason of that same ballad gener- 
ally sung among them : 

Fair youths, whose mothers brouglit you forth 
Lovely in form, and noble for your birth ; 
Envy not men of courage, prompt in arms, 
The kind fruition of your tempting charms. 
For softest love with daring valor reigns 
In equal honor through Chalcidian plains. 

Dionysius the poet, in his poem entitled Causes, informs 
us that the name of the lover was Anton, and that the 
youth beloved was called Philistus. 

And is it not a custom among you Thebans, Pemptides, 
for the lover to present the beloved with a complete suit 
of armor when he is come of age ? And Pammenes, a 
very great soldier but very amorously given, quite altered 
the method of embattling the heavy-armed infantry, and 
blames Homer, as one that knew not what belonged to 
love, for marshalling the several divisions of the Achaeans 
according to their tribes and clans, and not placing the 
lover by his beloved, so that the close order which he 
afterwards describes might havQ been the consequence, in 

Spears lean on spears, on targets targets throng, 
Helms stuck to helms, and man drove man along ; * 

* II. XIIL 131. 

286 OF LOVE. 


the only way to render a battalion invincible. For men 
will desert those of the same tribe or family, nay, their 
very children and parents ; but never any enemy could 
pierce or penetrate between a lover and his darling minion, 
in whose sight many times when there is no necessity the 
lover delights to show his courage and contempt of danger ; 
like Thero the Thessalian, who clapping his left hand to i 
the wall, and then drawing his sword, struck off his thumb, 
thereby challenging his rival to do the same. Or like an- 
other, who falling in battle upon his face, as his enemy was 
about to follow his blo\v., desired him to stay till he could 
turn, lest his male concubine should see that he had been 
wounded in the back. 

And therefore we find that the most warlike of nations 
are most addicted to love, as the Boeotians, Lacedaemo- 
nians, and Cretans. And among the most ancient heroes 
none were more amorous than Meleager, Achilles, Aris- 
tomenes, Cimon, and Epaminondas ; the latter of which 
had for his male concubines Asopichus and Caphisodorus, 
who was slain with him at the battle of Mantinea and lies 
buried very near him. And when . . . had rendered him- 
self most terrible to the enemy and most resolute, Eucna- 
mus the Amphissean, that first made head against him and 
slew him, had heroic honors paid him by the Phocians. 
It would be a task too great to enumerate the amours 
of Hercules ; but among the rest, lolaus is honored and 
adored to this day by many, because he is thought to have 
been the darling of that hero ; and upon his tomb it is 
that lovers plight their troths and make reciprocal vows 
of their affection. Moreover, Hercules, being skilled in 
physic, is said to have recovered Alcestis from death's door 
in kindness to Admetus, who, as he had a great love for 
his wife, so was greatly beloved by the hero. For it is 
said that even Apollo, doting upon Admetus, 

Became his slave for a long weary year. 

OF LOVE. 287 

And here, methinks, we have very opportunely mentioned 
Alcestis ; for although the temper of women has little to 
do with Mars, Love many times drives them to daring at- 
tempts beyond their own nature, even to death. And if 
there be any credit to be given to the fables of the poets, 
the stories of Alcestis, Protesilaus, and Eurydice the wife 
of Orpheus, plainly evince us that Pluto himself obeys no 
other God but Love. For, as Sophocles says, 

To others — be their fame or birth whate'er — 

Nor equity nor favor will he show ; 
But rigorous, and witliout remorse severe, 

His downright justice only makes them know ; 

but to lovers he pays a reverence : to them alone is he 
neither implacable nor inexorable. And therefore, al- 
though it is a very good thing to be initiated into the 
Eleusinian ceremonies, still I find the condition of those 
much better in hell who are admitted into the mysteries of 
love ; which I speak as neither altogether confiding in 
fables, nor altogether misbelieving them. For they speak 
a great deal of sense, and many times, by a certain kind 
of divine good hap, hit upon the truth, when they say 
that lovers are permitted to return from hell to sunlight 
again ; but which way and how, they know not, as wan- 
dering from the right path, which Plato, first of all men, 
by the assistance of philosophy found out. For there are 
several slender and obscure emanations of truth dispersed 
among the mythologies of the Egyptians ; only they want 
an acute and experienced huntsman, who is skilled in 
tracing out great mysteries by small tracks. And therefore 
let them go. 

And now, since we find the power of love to be so great, 
let us take a little notice of that which we call the benev- 
olence and favor of it towards men ; not whether it con- 
fers many benefits upon those that are addicted to it, — for 
that is a thing apparent to all men, — but whether the 

288 OF LOVE. 

blessings that men receive by it are more and greater than 
any other. And here Euripides, notwithstanding that he 
was a person so amorous as he was, admires the meanest 
gift it has ; for, says he, 

Love into men poetic fire infuses, ^ 

Tliough ne'er before acquainted with the Muses.* ^^IH 

And he might wejl have said, that love makes a man wise 
and prudent that was a fool and sottish before, and a cow- 
ard bold and daring, as we have already shown ; as when 
we heat wood in the fire to make it strong, when before it 
was weak. In like manner, he that was a sordid miser 
before, falling once in love, becomes liberal and lofty- 
minded, his covetous and pinching humor being mollified , 
by love, like iron in the fire, so that he is more pleased 
with being liberal to the objects of his love, than before 
delighted to receive from others. For ye all know that 
Anytus, the son of Anthemion, fell in love with Alci- 
biades ; who, understanding that Anytus had invited sev- 
eral of his friends to a noble and splendid banquet, came 
into the room in masquerade, and going to the table, after 
he had taken one half of the silver cups and other plate, 
went his way. Which when some of the guests took very 
ill, and told Anytus that the young lad had demeaned him-  
self very rudely and saucily ; Not so, said Anytus, but very 
civilly, since, when it was in his power to have taken all 
the rest, he was so civil as to leave me some. 

18. Pleased with this story, O Hercules, quotji Zeuxip- 
pus, how have you almost raced out of mind that heredi- 
tary hatred which I had conceived against Anytus, for his 
ill opinion of Socrates and philosophy, since he was be- 


come so gentle and generous in his amours. Be it so, said 
my father; but let us proceed. Love is of that nature, 
that it renders those that were severe and morose before 
both aff"able and pleasant in their humor. For as 

 From the Stheneboea of Euripides, Frag. 666. 

OF LOVE. 289 

The burning tapers make the house more light, 
And all things look more glorious to the sight ; 

SO the heat of love renders the soul of man more lively 
and cheerful. But most men go quite contrary to reason 
in this particular. For when they behold a glittering light 
in a house by night, they admire and look upon it as some- 
thing celestial ; but when they see a narrow, pitiful, abject 
soul of a sudden replenished with understanding, generos- 
ity, sense of honor, courtesy, and liberality, they do not 
believe themselves constrained to say, as Telemachus in 

Surely some God within this house resides.* 

For the love of the Graces, tell me, said Daphnaeus, is it 
not a thing altogether as much savoring of divinity, that a 
man who contemns all other things, not only his friends 
and familiar acquaintance, but also the laws, the magis- 
trates, even kings and princes themselves, who fears noth- 
ing, is astonished at nothing, cares for nothing, but thinks 
himself able to defy the " barbed lightning," f yet, so soon 
as he beholds the object of his burning love, 

As dunghill cravens, by a sudden blow, 
Hang their loose wings with little list to crow, 

should presently lose all his prowess, and that all his 
bravery should fail him, as if his heart were quite sunk to 
the bottom of his body 1 And it were not impertinent to 
make mention of Sappho here among the Muses. For 
the Romans report in their stories that Cacus, the son 
of Vulcan, vomited fire and flames out of his mouth. And 
indeed Sappho speaks as if her words were mixed with 
fire, and in her verses plainly discovers the violent heat of 
her heart, according to that of Philoxenus, 

Seeking for cure of love-inilicted wounds, 
From pleasing numbers and melodious sounds. 

 Odyss. XIX. 40. t Pindar, Tyth. I. 7. 

VOL. IV. 10 

290 OF LOVE. 


And here, Daphnaeus, if the love of Lysandra have no 
buried in oblivion your former sportive dalliances, I woulcj 
desire you to call to mind and oblige us with the repetition 
of those elegant raptures of Sappho, wherein she tells us 
how that, when the person beloved by her appeared, her 
speech forsook her, her body was all over in a sweat ; how 
she grew pale and wan, and was surprised with a sudden 
trembling and dizziness. To this Daphnaeus consented ; 
and so soon as he had recited the verses, said my father 
So Jupiter help me, is not this an apparent seizure of some- 
thing more than human upon the soul 1 Can this be other 
than some celestial rapture of the mind? What do we 
find equal to it in the Pythian prophetess, when she sits 
upon the tripod ? Where do we find the flutes which are 
used in the Bacchanalian orgies, or the tabors played upon 
in the ceremonies of the Mother of the Gods, rouse up 
such noble transports among that fanatic sort of enthusiasts? 
Many there are that behold the same body and the same 
beauty, but the lover only admires and is ravished with it. 
xind what is the reason, do ye think ? For we do not per- 
ceive or understand it from Menander, when he says : 

'Tis the occasion that infects the heart, 

For only he that's wounded feels the smart. ] 

But it is the God of Love that gives the occasion, seizing 
upon some, and letting others go free. What therefore 
had been more seasonable for me to have spoken before, 
since it is now chopped into my mouth (as Aeschylus says), 
I think I will not even now let go, as being a matter of 
great importance. For it may be, my dear friend, there is 
not anything in the world which was not made perceptible 
by sense, but what gained credit and authority at the first 
either from fables, or from the law, or else from rational 
discourse. And therefore poets, lawgivers, and in the 
third place philosophers, were all along the first that in- 
structed and confirmed us in our opinion of the Gods. 

OF LOVE. 291 

For all agree that there are Gods ; but concerning their 
number, their order, their essence and power, they vastly 
differ one among another. For the philosophers' Deities 
are subject neither to age nor diseases, neither do they 
undergo any labor or pain, 

Exempted from the noise and hurry 
Of busy Acherontic ferry. 

And therefore they will not admit poetical Deities, like Strife 
and Prayers ; * nor will they acknowledge Fear and Terror 
to be Gods or the sons of Mars. They also differ from 
the lawgivers in many things. Thus Xenophanes told the 
Egyptians not to worship Osiris as a God if they thought 
him to be mortal, and if they thought him to be a God not 
to bewail him. Then again, the poets and lawgivers vary 
from the philosophers, and will not so much as hear them, 
while they deify certain ideas, numbers, unities, and spirits ; 
such is the wild variety and vast difference of opinions 
among this sort of people. Therefore, as there were at 
Athens the three factions of the Parali, Epacrii, and 
Pedieis, that could never agree but were always at variance 
one with another, yet when they were assembled, gave 
their suffrages unanimously for Solon, and chose him with 
one consent for their peacemaker, governor, and lawgiver, 
as to whom the highest reward of virtue was, without all 
doubt or question, due ; so the three different sects or fac- 
tions in reference to the Gods, in giving their opinions 
some for one and some for another, as being by no meins 
willing to subscribe one to another, are all positive in their 
consent as to the God of Love. Him the most famous of 
the poets, and the numerous acclamations of the philoso- 
phers and lawgivers, have enrolled in the catalogue of the 
Gods " with loud praises and harmonious acclaim," as 
Alcaeus says of the Mitylenaeans w^hen they chose Pittacus 
for their prince. So Ilesiod, Plato, ajid Solon bring forth 

 See II. IX. 502. 


292 Oi^ LOVE. 

Cupid out of Helicon, and conduct him in pomp and state 
into the Academy, to be our king, governor, and director ^ 
drawn in by fiiendship and intercourse with all their' 
pairs of horses, — not the friendship which, as Euripides 
says, is 

With fetters bound, but not of brass * 

as if the bonds of love were only the cold and ponderous 
chains of necessity, made use of as a colorable pretence to 
excuse and qualify shame, but such friendship as is carried 
upon winged chariots to the most lovely objects that exist, 
and to sights more divine than this earth affords. But on 
this point others liave better discoursed. 

19. After my father had thus delivered himself; Do you 
not perceive, said Soclarus, how, being fallen a second time 
into the same matter, you have as it were by force con^ 
strained yourself, and unjustly deprived us — if I may 
speak what I think — of that same sacred discourse which 
you were entering into ] For as before you gave us a hint 
concerning Plato and the Egyptians, but passed them over 
as if it had been done against your will ; so you do now 
again. Now as to what has been notably uttered by Plato, 
or rather by our Goddesses here (the Muses) through Plato's 
mouth, do not trouble yourself to tell us this, even although 
we should request it. But whereas you have obscurely 
hinted that the fables of the Egyptians accord with Plato's 
opinion concerning love, we know you have too great 
kindness for us to conceal your knowledge from us ; and 
though it be but a little of those important matters, it shall 
suffice us. Thereupon the rest of the company declaring 
their readiness to give attention, my father thus began : 
The Egyptians, said he, and also the Grecians set up two 
Deities of love ; the one vulgar, the other celestial ; to 
which they add a third, which they believe to be the sun ; 
and as for Venus, they pay her a very great veneration. 

* Eurip. Pirithous, Frag. 598. 

Of LOVB. 293 

We ourselves also do find that there is a great affinity and 
resemblance between the sun and the God of Love. For 
neither of them is material fire, as some conjecture. All 
that we acknowledge is only this, that there is a certain 
soft and generative heat and warmth proceeding from the 
sun. which affords to the body nourishment, light, and re- 
laxation of cold ; whereas that warmth which comes from 
love works the same effects in the soul. And as the sun 
breaking forth from the clouds and after a thick fog is 
much hotter ; so love, after passionate anger and jealousies 
are over, and the beloved one is again reconciled, grows 
more delightful and fervent. Moreover, as some believe 
the sun to be kindled and extinguished, they also imagine 
the same things concerning love, as being mortal and un- 
stable. For neither can a constitution not enured to 
exercise endure the sun, nor the disposition of an illiterate 
and ill-tutored soul brook love without trouble and pain; 
for both are alike distempered and diseased, for which they 
lay the blame upon the power of the God, and not their 
own weakness. Herein only there may seem to be some 
difference between them ; for that the sun displays to the 
sight upon the earth both beauty and deformity at once, 
but love is a luminary that affords us the view of beautiful 
objects only, and persuades lovers to cast their eyes only 
upon what is pleasing and delightful, and with a careless 
eye to overlook all other things. On the other side, they 
that attribute the name of Venus to the moon, although 
they have no convincing proof, still have hit upon a certain 
similarity. For that the moon is celestial and divine, and 
the region of mixture between mortal and immortal ; but 
it is weak of itself, obscure and dark without the presence 
of the sun ; as Venus is where love is absent. Therefore 
more properly and with more probability the moon is 
likened to Venus, and the sun to Love, rather than to any 
other of the Gods. 

294 OF LOVE. 

Nevertheless, we must not therefore say they are all one 
For neither are the soul and body the same, but distmct ; 
as the sun is visible, but love is perceptible only by sense 
And if it might not be thought too harsh a saying, a mai 
might affirm that the sun and love act contrary to one 
another. For the sun diverts the understanding from 
things intelligible to sensible objects, alluring and fascinat- 
ing the sight with the grace and splendor of his rays, and 
persuading us to search for other things, and even foi; 
truth itself, within and about himself, and nowhere else. 
And we appear to be passionately in love with the sun. 
because, as Euripides says. 

He always on the earth displays 
The glory of his burning rays,* 

for want of our knowledge of another life, or rather, 
through our forgetfulness of those things which love calL 
to our remembrance. For as, when we are newly awaked 
and come into a bright and dazzling light, we forget what-^ 
ever appeared to the soul in our dreams ; so the sun seems 
to stupefy our recollection and impoison our understanding 
when we change from the former life and enter this world, 
so that in our pleasure and admiration we forget all other 
considerations besides that of the present life. Though 
there indeed are the real substances proper for the con 
templation of the soul ; here, as in sleep, it embraces only 
dreams, and gazes in admiration and astonishment at what 
appears to it most beautiful and divine, while 

Fallacious charming dreams about it fly ; — 

it being persuaded that here every thing is goodly and 
highly to be prized, unless it happens upon some divine and 
chaste love to be its physician and preserver. This love, en- 
tering through the body, becomes a guide to lead the soul 
from the world below to truth and the fields of truth, 

 Eurip. Hippol. 193. 

OF LOVE. 295 

where full, pure, deceitless beauty dwells ; and leading 
forth and guiding upward those that now after a long time 
are eager to embrace and live with such beauty, it stands 
by them, like a friendly mystagogue at the sacred ceremo- 
nies of initiation. But no sooner is the soul sent from 
thence again, but love is no longer able to make her ap- 
proaches of herself, but by the body. And therefore as 
geometricians, when children are not able of themselves to 
apprehend the intelligible ideas of incorporeal and impas- 
sible substance, form and set before their eyes the tangible 
and visible imitations of spheres, cubes, and dodecahe- 
drons ; in like manner celestial love, having framed lovely 
mirrors to represent lovely objects, — things mortal and 
passible to represent things divine, and sensible objects to 
represent those perceptible only to the eye of reason, 
— shows them to us glittering in the forms, colors, and 
shape of youth in its prime, and first insensibly moves the 
memory inflamed by the sight of these objects. 

Whence it comes to pass that some, through the stupid- 
ity of their friends and acquaintance, endeavoring by force 
and against reason to extinguish that flame, have enjoyed 
nothing of true benefit thereby, but only either disquieted 
themselves with smoke and trouble, or else rushing head- 
long into obscure and irregular pleasures, obstinately cast 
themselves away. But as many as by sober and modest 
ratiocination have sincerely extinguished the raging heat 
of the fire, and left behind only a warm and glowing heat 
in the soul, — which causes no violent earthquake, as it was 
once called, rousing the seed and causing a gliding of 
atoms compressed by smoothness and titillation, but a won- 
derful and engendering diff*usion, as in a blossoming and 
well-nourished plant, which opens the pores of obedience 
and aff'ection, — these, I say, in a short time passing by 
the bodies of those whom they love, penetrate more in- 
wardly and fall to admire their manners and dispositions ; 

296 OF LOVE. 

and calling off their eyes from the body, they converse to- 
gether, and contemplate one another in their discourses and 
in their actions, provided there be but the least scrip or 
appearance of beauty in the understanding. If not. they 
let them go, and turn their affections upon others, like bees 
that will not fasten upon many plants and flowers, because 
they cannot gather honey from them. But where they find 
any footstep, any emanation, any resemblance of a divinity, 
ravished with delight and admiration as they recall it to 
memory, they attract it to themselves, and are revived by 
striving to attain to what is truly amiable, happy, and be- 
loved by all mankind. 

20. True it is, that the poets, according to their sportive 
humor, seem to write many things in merriment concerning 
this Deity, and to make him the subject of their lascivious 
songs in the height of their revelling jollity, making but 
little serious mention of him ; whether out of judgment 
and reason, or being assured of the truth by divine inspira- 
tion, is the question. Among the rest, there is one thing 
which they say very oddly concerning the birth and gener- 
ation of this God : 

Young Zephyr, doting on his golden hair, 
At last the silver-slippered Iris won ; 
And thus embraced, at length she bore a son. 
Of all the Gods the shrewdest and most fair :  

unless the grammarians have likewise persuaded you, by 
saying that this fable was invented to set forth the variety 
and gay diversity of passions that attend on love. 

To whom Daphnaeus : To what other end or purpose 
could it be] Hear me then, said my father; for 'tis no 
more than what the celestial meteor constrains us to say. 
The affection of the sight in the case of the rainbow (or 
Iris) is caused by reflection. For when the sight liglits 
upoii a cloud somewhat of a dewy substance, but smooth, 

* From Alcaeus. 

OF LOVE. 297 

and moderately thick withal, and we behold the repercus- 
sion of the sunbeams upon it, together with the light and 
splendor about the sun, it begets an opinion in us that the 
apparition is in the cloud. In like manner, this same 
subtle invention of love-sophistry in generous and noble 
souls causes a repercussion of the memory from objects 
that here appear and are called beautiful, to the beauty 
really divine, truly amiable and happy, and by all admired. 
But most people pursuing and taking hold of the fancied 
image of this beauty in boys and women, as it were seen in 
a mirror, reap nothing more assured and certain than a 
little pleasure mixed with pain. But this seems to be no 
more than a delirium or dizziness of the vulgar sort, be- 
holding their empty and unsatisfied desires in the clouds, 
as it were in so many shadows ; like children who, think- 
ing to catch the rainbow in their hands, snatch at the ap- 
parition that presents itself before their eyes. But a 
generous and modest lover observes another method ; for 
his contemplations reflect only on that beauty which is 
divine and perceptible by the understanding ; but lighting 
upon the beauty of a visible body, and making use of it as 
a kind of organ of the memory, he embraces and loves, 
and by conversation argumenting his joy and satisfaction 
still more and more inflames his understanding. But 
neither do these lovers conversing with bodies rest satisfied 
in this world with a desire and admiration of this same 
light ; neither when they are arrived at another world after 
death, do they return hither again as fugitives, to hover about 
the doors and mansions of new-married people and disturb 
their dreams with ghosts and visions; which sort of visions 
really come only from men and women given to pleasure 
and corporeal delights, who by no means deserve the name 
and characters of true lovers. Whereas a lover truly 
chaste and amorous, being got to the true mansion of 
beauty, and there conversing with it as much as it is law- 

298 OF LOYE. 


fill for him to do, mounted upon the wings of chaste desire, 
becomes pure and hallowed ; and being initiated into sacred 
orders, continues dancing and sporting about his Deity, till 
returning again to the meadows of the Moon and Venus, 
and there laid asleep, he becomes ready for a new nativity. 
But these are points too high for the discourse which we 
have proposed to ourselves. 

To return therefore to our purpose; Love, according to 
Euripides, with all the rest of the Gods, delights 

When mortals here his honored name invoke : * 

on the other side, he is no less offended when any affront 
or contempt is put upon him, as he is most kind and be- 
nign to those that entertain him w^ith proper respect. For 
neither does Jupiter surnamed the Hospitable so severely 
prosecute injuries done to strangers and suppliants, nor is 
Jupiter Genitalis so rigorous in accomplishing the curses 
of parents disobeyed, as Love is to listen to the complaints 
of injured lovers ; being the scourger and punisher of 
proud, ill-natured, and ill-bred people. For, not to mention 
Euxynthetus and Leucomantis, at this day in Cyprus called 
the Peeper, 'tis a hundred to one but you have heard of the 
punishment inflicted upon Gorgo the Cretan, not much un- 
like to that of Leucomantis, only that Gorgo was turned 
into a stone as she looked out of a window to see her love 
going to his grave. With this Gorgo Asander fell in love, 
a young gentleman virtuous and nobly descended, but re- 
duced from a flourishing estate to extremity of poverty. 
However, he did not think so meanly of himself but that, 
being her kinsman, he courted this Gorgo for a wife, 
though she had many suitors at the same time by reason 
of her great fortune ; and he so carried this business that, 
notwithstanding his numerous and wealthy rivals, he had 
gained the good-will of all her guardians and nearest rela- 
tions. , 

* Eurip. Hippol. 7. 


OF LOVE. 299 

21. Now as for those things which they say are the 
causes that beget love, they are not peculiar to this or the 
other sex, but common to both. For it cannot be that 
those images that enter into amorous persons and whisk 
about from one part to another, by their various forms 
moving and tickling the mass of atoms that slide into the 
seed, can come from young boys, and that the same cannot 
come from young women. But as to these noble and 
sacred remembrances with which the soul is winged, re- 
calling that same divine, real, and Olympic beauty, what 
should hinder but that these may pass from boys and young 
men, and also from virgins and young Avomen, whenever 
a disposition chaste and good-natured appears united with 
bloom of youth and grace of body? For, as a handsome 
and well-made shoe shows the proportion of the foot (as 
Ariston says), so they that have judgment in these matters 
can discern the splendid, upright, and uncorrupted foot- 
steps of a noble and generous soul in beautiful forms and 
features, and bodies undeiiled. For, if a voluptuous per- 
son, who when the question was put to him, 

To which are your liot passions most inclined. 
Or to the male, or to the female kind ? 

answered thus, 

'Tis the same thing to me 
Where'er I beauty see, 

was thought to have returned a proper and pertinent an- 
swer and one that accorded with his passions, is it possible 
that a noble and generous lover directs his amours not to 
loveliness and good-nature, but only to the parts that dis- 
tinguish the sex? For certainly a man that delights in 
horses will no less value the mettle and swiftness of Po- 
dargus, than of Aetha that was Agamemnon's mare ; and 
he that is a good huntsman does not only delight in dogs, 
but mixes with his cry the bitches of Crete and Laconia ; 
and shall he that is a lover as well as of civil behavior 

300 OF LOVE. 


carry himself with an inequahty more to one than to 
another, and make a distinction, as of garments, between 
the love of men and women 1 But some say that beauty 
is the flower of virtue. Will they then affirm, that the 
female sex never blossoms nor makes any show of tendency 
to virtue ] It were absurd to think so. Therefore was 
Aeschylus in the right when he said, that he could never 
mistake the fire in the eye of a young woman who had 
once known a man. Now then are those signs and marks of 
lasciviousness, wantonness, and impudence to be discovered 
in the visages of women, and shall there be no light shining 
in their faces for the discovery of modesty and chastity ] 
Nay, shall there be many such signs, and those apparent, 
and shall they not be able to allure and provoke love 1 
Both are contrary to reason, and dissonant from truth. 
But every one of these things is common to both sexes, as 
we have showed. 

Now then, Daphnaeus, let us confute the reason that 
Zeuxippus has but now alleged, by making love to be all 
one with inordinate desire that hurries the soul to intem- 
perance. Not that it is his opinion, but only what he has 
frequently heard from men morose and no way addicted to 
love. Of this class there are some who, marrying poor 
silly women for the sake of some petty portion, and having 
nothing to do with them and their money but to make 
them perpetual drudges in pitiful mechanic employments, 
are every day brawling and quarrelling with them. 
Others, more desirous of children than of wives, like cica- 
dae that spill their seed upon squills or some such like 
herb, discharge their lust in haste upon the next they 
meet with ; and having reaped the fruit they sought for, 
bid marriage farewell or else regard it not at all, neither 
caring to love nor to be beloved. And in my opinion, the 
words aztijyeiv and ax^ny^adai^ which signify dearly to love and 
dearly to he beloved again, differing but one letter from 

OF LOVE. 301 

ctiyuv, which signifies to contain or endure^ seem to me to 
import and denote that mutual kindness called conjugal, 
which is intermixed by time and custom with necessity. 
But in that wedlock which love supports and inspires, in 
the first place, as in Plato's Commonwealth, there will be 
no such language as "thine" and "mine." For properly to 
speak, there is not community of goods among all friends ; 
but only where two friends, though severed in body, yet 
have their souls joined and as it were melted together, and 
neither desire to be two nor believe themselves to be 
separate persons. And, in the second place, there will be 
that mutual respect and reverence, which is the chiefest 
happiness of wedlock. Now as to that respect that 
comes from without, carrying with it more force of law 
than voluntary and reciprocal duty, or that comes by fear 
and shame, 

And many other curbs, that loose desire 
And lawless frisks of wanton heat require,* 

these are always present with those who are coupled m 
matrimony. Whereas in love there is so much continency, 
so much modesty, and so much of loyal affection, that even 
if it happen upon an intemperate and lascivious soul, it is 
thereby diverted from all other amours, by cutting off all 
malapert boldness and bringing down the insolence of im- 
perious pride ; instead of which it introduces modest bash- 
fulness, silence, and submission, and adorning it with decent 
and becoming behavior, makes it for ever after the obedient 
observer of one lover. Most certainly you have heard of 
that celebrated and highly courted courtesan Lais, how her 
beauty inflamed all Greece, or rather how two seas strove 
for her. This famous beauty, being seized with an ardent 
affection for Hippolochus the Thessalian, leaving the Acro- 
corinthus, as the poet describes it. 

With sea-green water all encompassed round,! 
 Sophocles, Frag. 784. t See Euripides, Frag. 1069. 

302 OF LOVB. 

and privately avoiding the great army (as I may call it) of 
those that courted her favor, withdrew herself modestly to 
the enjoyment of him only ; but the women, incensed with 
jealousy and envying her surpassing beauty, dragged her 
into the temple of Venus, and there stoned her to death ; 
for which reason it is called to this day the temple of Ve- 
nus the Murderess. We ourselves have known several 
young damsels, mere slaves, who never would submit to 
the embraces of their masters, and private men w^ho have 
disdained the company of queens, when love had the abso- 
lute dominion of their hearts. For, as in Eome, when 
there is a dictator chosen, all other chief magistrates lay 
down their offices ; so all such persons, where love is truly 
predominant, are immediately free and manumitted from 
all other lords and masters, and afterwards live like servants 
in the temple of Love. And indeed a virtuous and gener- 
ous lady, once linked to her lawful husband by an unfeigned 
affection, will sooner choose the embraces of bears and 
dragons, than to be the bed-fellow of any other person 
whatsoever but her only spouse. 

22. Of this although we might produce examples with- 
out number, yet among you, that are now joined (as it 
were) in the same dance and festival with Love,* it will 
not be from the purpose to relate the story of Gamma the 
Galatian. For she being a woman of transcendent beauty, 
and married to Sinatus the tetrarch, Synorix, one of the 
most powerful men in all Galatia, fell desperately in love  
with her; and that he might enjoy her, murdered her hus- 
band Sinatus, since he could not prevail with her either by 
force or persuasion, while her husband was alive. There- 
upon Gamma, having no other sanctuary for the preserva- fl 
tion of her chastity nor consolation in her affliction, retired 
to the temple of Diana, where she remained a votaress to 

* The dialogue is supposed to be held at the festival of Love. See §§ 1 and 2 

OF LOVE. 303 

the Goddess, not admitting any person so much as to speak 
to her, though she had many suitors that sought her in 
wedlock. But when Synorix boldly presumed to put the 
question to her, she neither seemed to reject his motion, 
neither did she upbraid him with the crime he had com- 
mitted ; as if he had been induced to perpetrate so vile an 
act, not out of any malicious intent to Sinatus, but merely 
out of a pure and ardent love and affection to her. There- 
upon he came with greater confidence, and demanded her 
in marriage. She, on the other side, met him no less 
cheerfully ; and leading him by the hand to the altar of the 
Goddess, after she had poured forth a small quantity of 
hydromel well tempered with a rank poison, as it were an 
atonement offering to the Goddess, she drank off the one 
half of that which remained herself, and gave the other 
half to the Galatian. And then, so soon as she saw he 
had drunk it off, she gave a loud groan, and calling her 
deceased husband by his name ; This day, said she, my 
most dear and beloved husband, I have long expected, as 
having lived, deprived of thee, a desolate and comfortless 
life. But now receive me joyfully ; for for thy sake I have 
revenged myself upon the most wicked among men, wilhng 
to have lived with thee, and now no less rejoicing to die 
with him. Thus Synorix, being carried out of the temple, 
soon after expired ; but Gamma, surviving him a day and 
a night, is reported to have died with an extraordinary res- 
olution and cheerfulness of spirit. 

23. Now in regard there have been many such, as well 
among us as among the barbarians, who can bear with 
those that reproach Venus that, being coupled and pres- 
ent with Love, she becomes a hindrance of friendship? 
AVhereas any sober and considerate person may rather re- 
vile the company of male with male, and justly call it in- 
temperance and lasciviousness, 

304 OF LOVE. 

A vile affront to Nature, no effect 
Of lovely Venus or of chaste respect. 

And therefore, as for those that willingly prostitute their 
bodies, we look upon them to be the most wicked and flagi- 
tious persons in the world, void of fidelity, neither endued 
with modesty nor any thing of friendship ; and but too 
truly and really, according to Sophocles, 

They who ne'er had such friends as these, 

Believe tlieir blessing double ; 
And they that have them, pray the Gods 

To rid them of the trouble.* 

And as for those who, not being by nature lewd and wicked, 
were circumvented and forced to prostitute themselves, 
there are no men whom these always look upon with greater 
suspicion and more perfect hatred than those that deluded 
and flattered them into so vile an act, and they bitterly 
revenge themselves when they find an opportunity. For 
Crateas killed Archelaus, who had rid him in his youth ; 
and Pytholaus slew Alexander of Pherae. Periander ty- 
rant of the Ambraciotes asked his minion, whether he were 
not yet with child ; which the lad took so heinously that 
he stabbed him. 

On the other hand, among women that are married, these 
are but the beginnings of friendship, as it were, a com- 
municating and imparting of great and sacred mysteries. 
The pleasure of coition is the least thing ; but the honor, 
the submission to mutual love and fidelity which daily 
germinates from this, convince us that neither the Delphi- 
ans raved, who gave the name of Arma (union) to Venus, 
nor that Homer was in an error, who called the conjunction 
of man and woman by the name of friendship ; but that 
Solon was a lawgiver the most experienced in conjugal 
afl"airs, who decreed that a husband should lie with his 
wife thrice a month at least, — not for pleasure's sake, but 

* Soph. Frag. 778. 



OF LOVE. 305 

that, as cities renew their treaties one with another at such 
a time, so the alliance of matrimony might be renewed by 
this enjoyment, after the jars which may have arisen in the 
mean time. But you will say, there are many men in love 
with women that act amiss and furiously. But are there 
not more enormities committed by those that are enamored 
upon boys ? 

So often as these eyes of mine behold 
That beardless youth, that smooth and lovely boy, 

I faint and fall ; then wish I him to hold 
Within mine arms, and so to die with joy ; 

And that on tomb were set, where I do lie, 
An epigram, mine end to testify. 

But though there is this raging passion after boys, as well 
as a dotage upon women, yet can neither be said to be truly 
love. And therefore it is an absurdity to aver that women 
are not capable even of other virtues. For why speak of 
so many signals of their chastity, prudence, justice, and 
fidelity, when we find others no less eminent for their forti- 
tude, resolution, and magnanimity ; aftejL' all which, to tax 
them of being naturally incapable of friendship only — not 
to mention the other virtues — is a hard case. For they 
are naturally lovers of their children, affectionate to their 
husbands ; and this same natural affection of theirs, like a 
fertile soil, as it is capable of friendship, so is no less plia- 
ble to persuasion, nor less accompanied with all the graces. 
But as poetry, adapting to speech the conditements of mel- 
ody, measure, and rhythm, renders the wholesome and in- 
structive piart of it so much the more moving, and the 
noxious part so much the more apt to corrupt the mind ; 
so. Nature having adorned a woman with the charms of 
beauty and persuasive language, a lascivious woman makes 
use of these perfections to please herself and deceive others, 
but in a modest and sober woman they work wonders 
towards the gaining and fixing the good will and favor of 
her husband. Therefore Plato exhorted Xenocrates, oth- 

VOL, IV. 20 

306 OF LOVE. 


erwise generous and brave, but very morose in his humor, 
to sacrifice to the Graces ; but he would have exhorted a 
virtuous and modest woman to sacrifice to Love, for his 
propitious favor to her marriage, in ordering it so that her 
behavior may prove a sufficient charm to keep her husband 
at home, . . . and that he may not ramble after other 
women, and then be forced to exclaim, as in the comedy, 

Curse to this rage of mine, so given to roam ; 
What a good wife do I abuse at home ! 

For in wedlock to love is a far greater blessing than to be 
beloved ; since it preserves and keeps people from falling 
into many errors, nay, all those that corrupt and ruin 

24. As for those passionate affections which at the be 
ginning of conjugal love raise certain fits, which are some 
what sharp and biting, most fortunate Zeuxippus, I would 
not have you fear them, like an ulcer or scarification 
Though perhaps it would not be amiss, if it should cos 
you some small wound to be joined to a virtuous woman, 
like trees that grow together when grafted by irtcision upon 
a proper stock. The beginning of conception itself is a 
kind of exulceration ; for there can be no mixture of 
things that are not affected reciprocally one by the other. 
The very mathematical rudiments do not a little perplex 
little children at the first, and philosophy troubles the 
brains of young beginners ; but this corroding humor is 
not lasting, either to these or to lovers. Insomuch that a 
man would think that love at first resembled the mixture 
of two liquors, which, when once they begin to incor- 
porate, by their ebullition discover some little disgusts ; 
for so love at the beginning bubbles up with a kind of 
effervency, till being settled and purified it acquires a fii'm 
and stable constitution. For this indeed is properly that 
kind of mixture which is called a thorough mixture ; 
whereas the love of other friends, conversing and living 


OF LOVE. 307 

together, is like the touches and interweavings of Epi- 
curus's atoms, subject to raptures and separations, but can 
never compose such a union as proceeds from love assist- 
ing conjugal society. For neither are the pleasures received 
from any other source so great, nor the benefits conferred 
on others so lasting, nor is the glory and beauty of any 
other friendship so noble and desirable, 

As when the man and wife at board and bed 
Under one roof a life of concord lead.* 

Moreover, it is a thing warranted by law ; while Nature 
shows us that even the Gods themselves stood in need of 
love for the sake of common procreation. Thus the poets 
tell us that earth is in love with the showers, and heaven 
with the earth ; and the natural philosophers are of opinion 
that the sun is in love with the moon, that they copulate 
every month, and that the moon conceives by virtue of that 
conjunction. And it would of necessity follow that the 
earth, which is the common mother of all mankind, of all 
animals, and of all manner of plants, would one day cease 
and be extinguished, should that same ardent love and 
desire infused by the God forsake matter, and matter cease 
to pursue and lust after the pruiciples and motions of gene- 

But that we may not seem to wander too far or spend 
our time in trifles, you yourselves are not ignorant that 
these pederasties are by many said to be the most uncer- 
tain and least durable things in the world, and that they are 
derided by those that make use of them, who affirm that 
the love of boys, like an cg^, may be destroyed by a 
hair ; f and the lovers themselves are like the wandering 
Scythians, who, having spent their spring in flowery and 
verdant pastures, presently dislodge from thence, as out of 
an enemy's country. And Bion the Sophister was yet 
more sharp and satirical, when he called the beards of 

• Odygs. VI. 183. t That is, by the gprouting of the beard. (G.) 

308 OF LOVE. 



young and beautiful striplings by tbe names of Tlarmodii 
and Aristogitons (i.e. tyrant-killers), since by tbat budding 
show of manhood their lovers are delivered from their 
pleasant tyranny. But these imputations are not justly 
charged upon true lovers. Elegant therefore was that 
which was said by Euripides. For as he was clasping and 
embracing the fair Agatho, after the down began to sprout 
forth upon his chin, he cried that the very autumn of 
lovely youths was pleasing and delightful. But I say moi 
than this, that the love of virtuous women does not deca; 
with the wrinkles that appear upon their faces, but re 
mains and endures to their graves and monuments. The 
again, we shall find but few male couples of true lover 
but thousands of men and women conjoined together 
wedlock, who have reciprocally and inviolably observed 
community of affection and loyalty to the end of the! 
lives. I shall instance only one example, which happene 
in our time, during the reign of Caesar Vespasian. 

25. Julius, who was the first that occasioned the revolt 
in Galatia, among many other confederates in the rebellion 
had one Sabinus, a young gentleman of no mean spirit, 
and for fame and riches inferior to none. But having 
undertaken a very difficult enterprise, they miscarried ; and 
therefore expecting nothing but death by the hand of jus- 
tice, some of them killed themselves, others made their 
escapes as well as they could. As for Sabinus, he had all 
the opportunities that could be to save himself by flying 
to the barbarians ; but he had married a lady, the best of 
women, which they called by the name of Empone, as 
much as to say a heroess. This woman it was not in his 
power to leave, neither could he carry her conveniently 
along: with him. Havinor therefore in the countrv certain 
Vaults or cellars under ground, where he had hid his 
treasures and movables of greatest value, which were only 
known to two of his freed bondmen, he dismissed all the 

OF LOVE. 309 

rest of his servants, as if he had intended to poison him- 
self. And taking along with him his two faithful and trusty 
servants, he hid himself in one of the vaults, and sent 
another of his enfranchised attendants, whose name was 
Martalius, to tell his wife that her husband had poisoned 
himself and that the house and his corpse were both burnt 
together, designing by the lamentation and unfeigned grief 
of his wife to make the report of his death the more 
easily believed ; which fell out according to his wish. For 
the lady, so soon as she heard the news, threw herself 
upon the floor, and continued for three days together with- 
out meat or drink, making the most bitter outcries, and 
bewailing her loss with all the marks of a real and un- 
feigned anguish ; which Sabinus understanding, and fear- 
ing her sorrow might prevail with her to lay violent hands 
upon herself, he ordered the same Martalius to tell her 
that he w^as yet alive and lay hid in such a place ; how- 
ever, that she should for a while continue her mourning, 
and be sure so to counterfeit her grief that she should not 
be discovered. And indeed in all other things the lady 
acted her part so well, and managed her passion to that 
degree, that no woman could do it better. But having 
still a longing desire to see her husband, she went to him 
in the night and returned again so privately that nobody 
took any notice of her. And thus she continued keeping 
him company for seven months together, that it might be 
said to differ very little from living in hell itself. Where 
after she had so strangely disguised Sabinus with a false 
head of hair, and such odd sort of habit, that it was im- 
possible for him to be known, she carried him to Rome 
along with her undiscovered to several that met him. But 
not being able to obtain his pardon, she returned with him 
back to his den, and for many years lived with him under 
ground ; only between whiles she went to the city, and 
there showed herself in public to several ladies, her friends 


and familiar acquaintance. But that which was the mos 
incredible of all things, she so ordered her business tha 
none of the ladies perceived her being with child, thong 
she bathed at the same time with them. For such is th< 
nature of that same ointment wherewith the women anoin 
their hair to make it of a red-golden color, that by its fat 
ness and oiliness it plumps and swells up the flesh of th 
body, and brings it up to an embonpoint. So that th 
lady, no less liberal of her ointment than diligent to chafi 
and rub her body limb by limb, by the proportionabl 
rising and swelling of her flesh in every part, conceale 
the swelling of her belly. And when she came to 
delivered, she endured the pains of her child-bearing aloni 
by herself, like a lioness, hiding herself in her den with he 
husband ; and there, as I may say, she bred up in private 
her two male whelps. For at that time she was delivere 
of two boys, of which there was one who was slain 
Egypt ; the other, whose name was also Sabinus, was bu 
very lately with us at Delphi. 

For this reason Caesar put the lady to death ; but dearl 
paid for the murder by the utter extirpation of his whol( 
posterity, which in a short time after was utterly cut of! 
from the fiice of the earth. For during his whole reign 
there was not a more cruel and savau:e act committed 
neither was there any other spectacle which in all proba 
bility the Gods and Daemons more detested, or any fron 
which they more turned away their eyes in abominatioi 
of the sight. Besides, she abated the compassion of th^ 
spectators by the stoutness of her behavior and the gran 
deur of her utterance, than which there was nothing tha 
more exasperated Vespasian ; Avhen, despairing of hei 
husband's pardon, she did as it were challenge the emper 
to exchange her life for his, telling him withal, that sh 
accounted it a far greater pleasure to live in darkness unde 
ground as she had done, than to reign in splendor lik 

OF LOVE. 311 

26. Here, as my father told me, ended the discourse 
concernmg Love in the neighborhood of Thespiae ; at what 
time they saw one of Pisias's friends, by name Diogenes, 
coming at a good round pace towards them ; to whom when 
Soclarus, while he was yet at a distance, cried out, No 
tidings of war, Diogenes, I hope] No, no, said he, that 
ne'er can be at a wedding ; and therefore mend your pace, 
for the nuptial sacrifice stays only for your coming. All 
the rest of the company were exceeding glad, only Zeuxip- 
pus asked whether Pisias were still angry. On the con- 
trary, said Diogenes, as he before opposed the match, so 
now he was the first to approve what Ismenodora had 
done ; and at the same time, putting on a garland upon his 
head and throwing a white nuptial robe about his shoulders, 
he is to march before all the company through the market- 
place, to give thanks to the God of Love. 

Well done, by Jupiter, come away, come away then, 
cried my father, that we may laugh and be merry with our 
friend, and adore the Deity. For there is no doubt that he 
is propitiously present with his favor and approbation. 


In Haliartus, which is a city of Boeotia, lived a young 
damsel of surpassing beauty, whose name was Aristoclia, 
the daughter of Theophanes. This lady was courted by 
Straton an Orchomenian, and Callisthenes of Haliartus ; 
but Straton was the more wealthy of the two, and more 
enamored of the virgin. For he had seen her bathing 
herself in the fountain of Hercyne, which is in Lebadea, 
against the time that she was to bear the sacred basket in 
honor of Jupiter the King. But the virgin herself had a 
greater affection for Callisthenes, for that he was more 
nearly allied to her. In this case, her father Theophanes, 
not knowing well what to do (for he was afraid of Straton, 
who had the advantage both of noble birth and riches 
above all the rest of the Boeotians), resolved to refer the 
choice to the oracle of Trophonius. On the other side, 
Straton (for he was made believe by some of the virgin's 
familiar acquaintance that his mistress had the greatest 
kindness for him) earnestly desired to refer the matter to the 
election of the virgin herself. But when Theophanes put 
the question to his daughter in a great assembly of all the 
friends of all parties, it fell out that the damsel preferred 
Callisthenes. Thereupon it presently appeared in Straton's 
countenance how much he was disgusted at the indignity 
he had received. However, two days after, he came to 


Theophanes and Callisthenes, requesting the continuance 
of their friendship, notwithstanding that some Daemon 
had envied him the happiness of his intended marriage. 
They so well approved his proposal, that they invited him 
to the wedding and the nuptial feast. But he in the mean 
time having mustered together a great number of his 
friends, together with a numerous troop of his own ser- 
vants, whom he secretly dispersed and disposed up and 
down in places proper for his purpose, watched his oppor- 
tunity so well that, as the damsel was going down, accord- 
ing to the custom of the country, to the fountain called 
Cissoessa, there to pay her offerings to the Nymphs before 
her wedding-day, he and his accomplices rushing out of 
their ambuscade seized upon the virgin, whom Straton held 
fast and pulled to himself. On the other side, Callisthenes, 
with those that were about him, as it is easy to be believed, 
flew with all speed to her relief; and in this fatal contest, 
while the one tugged and the other hauled, the unhappy 
damsel perished. As for Callisthenes, he was never seen 
any more ; whether he laid violent hands upon himself, or 
whether it were that he left Boeotia as a voluntary exile ; 
for no man could give any account of him afterwards. 
And as for Straton, he slew himself before the eyes of all 
upon the dead body of the unfortunate virgin. 


A certain great person whose name was Phido, design- 
ing to make himself lord of the whole Peloponnesus, and 
more especially desirous that x\rgos, being his native 
country, should be the metropolis of all the rest, resolved 
to reduce the Corinthians under his subjection. To this 
purpose he sent to them to demand a levy of a thousand 
young gentlemen, the most valiant and the chiefest in the 


prime of their age in the whole city. Accordingly they 
sent him a thousand young sparks, brisk and gaUant, un- 
der the leading of Dexander, whom they chose to be their 
captain. But Phido, designing nothing more than the 
massacre of these gentlemen, to the end he might the more 
easily make himself master of Corinth when it should be 
enfeebled by so great a loss (as being by its situation the 
chief bulwark to guard the entrance into Peloponnesus), 
imparted this contrivance of his to several of his confidants, 
in which number was one whose name was Abro ; who, 
having been formerly acquainted with Dexander, and famil- 
iarly entertained by him, discovered the whole conspiracy 
to his friend in acknowledgment of his kindness. By 
which means the thousand, before they fell into the ambus 
cade, retreated and got safe to Corinth. Phido thus disap 
pointed made all the inquiry imaginable, to find out who i<^ 
was that had betrayed and discovered his design. Which 
Abro understanding fled to Corinth with his wife and all 
his family, and settled himself in Melissus, a certain village 
in the territory of the Corinthians. There he begat a son, 
whom he named Melissus from the name of the place 
where he was born. The son of this Melissus was 
Actaeon, the loveliest and most modest of all the striplings 
of his age. For Avhich reason there were several that fell 
in love with him, but none with so much ardor as Archias, 
being of the race of the Heraclidae, and for wealth and 
authority the greatest person in all Corinth. This Archias, 
when he found that no fair means and persuasions would 
prevail upon the young lad, resolved to ravish him away 
by force ; to which purpose he invited himself to Melissus's 
house, as it were to make merry, accompanied with a great 
number of his friends and servants, and by their assistance 
he made an attempt to carry away the son by violence. 
But the father and his friends opposing the rape, and the 
neighbors coming in to the rescue of the child, poor 


Actaeon, between the one and the other, was pulled and 
hauled to death ; and Archias with his company departed. 
Upon this, Melissus carried the murdered body of his son 
into the market-place of Corinth, and there, exposing him 
to public view, demanded justice to be done upon the mur- 
derers. But finding that the Corinthians only pitied his 
condition, without taking any farther notice of the matter, 
he returned home, and waited for the grand assembly of 
the Greeks at the Isthmus. At what time, getting up to 
the very top of Neptune's temple, he exclaimed against 
the whole race of the Bacchiadae, and after he had made 
a public relation of the good service which his father Abro 
had done the Corinthians, he invoked the vengeance of 
the Gods, and presently threw himself headlong among the 
rocks. Soon after the Corinthians being plagued with a 
most terrible drought, upon which ensued a violent famine, 
they sent to the oracle, to know by what means they might 
be delivered from their calamity. To whom the Deity 
made answer, that it was Neptune's wrath, which would 
not cease till they had revenged the death of Actaeon. 
Archias, hearing this (for he was one of those that were 
sent to the oracle), never returned again to Corinth, but 
sailing into Sicily, built there the city of Syracuse ; where, 
after he was become the father of two daughters, Ortygia 
and Syracusa, he was treacherously slain by Telephus, 
whom he had preternaturally abused in his youth, and 
who, having the command of a ship, sailed along with 
him into Sicily. 


A certain poor man,Sccdasus by name, lived at Leuctra, 
a small village in the territory of the Thespians, and had 
two daughters, Hippo and Miletia, or as others say, Theano 


and Euxippe. This Scedasus was a very good man, and, 
to the extent of his fortune, very hospitable to strangers. 
This was the leason that most readily and gladly he enter- 
tained two young gentlemen of Sparta, that came to lodge 
at his house ; Avho, falling in love with the virgins, were 
yet so overawed by the kindness that Scedasus had showed 
them, that they durst not make any rude attem[)t for that 
time. The next morning therefore they went directly to 
the city of Delphi, whither they were journeying, where 
after they had consulted the oracle touching such ques- 
tions as they had to put, they returned homeward, and 
travelling through Boeotia, stopped again at Scedasus's 
house, who happened at that time not to be at Leuctra. 
However, his daughters, according to that education to 
which their father had accustomed them, gave the same 
entertainment to the strangers as if their father had been 
at home. But such was the perfidious ingratitude of these 
guests, that finding the virgins alone, they ravished and by 
force deflowered the damsels ; and, which was worse, per- 
ceiving them lamenting to excess the undeserved injury 
they had received, the ravishers murdered them, and after 
they had thrown their bodies into a well, went their ways. 
Soon after Scedasus, returning home, missed both his 
daughters, but all things else he found safe and in order, 
as he left them ; which put him into such a quandary, 
that he knew not what to say or do, till instructed by a 
little bitch, that several times in a day came whining and 
fawning upon him and then returned to the well, he be- 
gan to suspect what he found to be true ; and so he drew up 
the dead bodies of his daughters. Moreover, being then 
informed by his neighbors, that they had seen the two 
Lacedaemonian gentlemen Avhich he had entertained some 
time before go into his house, he guessed them to be the 
persons who had committed the fact, for that they would be 
always praising the virgins when they lodged there before, 


and telling their father what happy men they Avould be that 
should have the good fortune to marry them. Thereupon 
away he went to Lacedaemon, with a resolution to make 
his complaint to the Ephori ; but being benighted in the 
territory of Argos, he put into a public house, where he 
found another old man of the city of Oreus, in the province 
of llistiaea ; whom when he heard sighing and cursing 
the Lacedaemonians, Scedasus asked him what injury the 
Lacedaemonians had done him. In answer to which, the 
old man gave him this account : I am, said he, a subject to 
the Lacedaemonians, by whom Aristodemus was sent to 
Oreus to be governor of that place, where he committed 
several outrages and savage enormities. Among the rest, 
being fallen in love with my son, when he could by no 
fair means procure his consent, he endeavored to carry him 
away by main force out of the wrestling-place. But the 
president of the exercises opposing him, with the assist- 
ance of several of the young men, Aristodemus was con- 
strained to retire ; but the next day, having provided a 
galley to be in readiness, he ravished away my son, and 
sailing from Oreus to the opposite continent, endeavored, 
when he had the boy there, to abuse his body ; and be- 
cause the lad refused to submit to his lust, cut the cliild's 
throat. Upon his return he made a great feast at Oreus, 
to which he invited all his friends. In the mean while, 
I being soon informed of the sad accident, presently went 
and interred the body ; and having so done, I made 
haste to Sparta, and preferred my complain to the Ephori, 
but they gave no answer, nor took any notice of the 

Scedasus, having heard this relation, remained very 
much dejected, believing he should have no better suc- 
cess. However, in his turn, he gave an account to the 
stranger of his own sad mischance ; which when he had 
done, the stranger advised him not to complain to the 



Ephori, but to return to his own counti^, and erect a 
monument for his two daughters. But Scedasus, not 
Hking this advice, went to Sparta, made his case known 
to the Ephori, and demanded justice ; who taking no notice 
of his complaint, away he went to the Kings ; but they as 
little regarding him, he applied himself to every particular 
citizen, and recommended to them the sadness of his con- 
dition. At length, when he saw nothing would do, he ran 
through the city, stretching forth his hands to the sun and 
stamping on the ground with his feet, and called upon the 
Furies to revenge his cause ; and when he had done all he 
could, in the last place slew himself. But afterwards the 
Lacedaemonians dearly paid for their injustice. For be- 
ing at that time lords of all Greece, while all the chiefest 
cities of that spacious region were curbed by their garri- 
sons, Epaminondas the Theban was the first that.threw off 
their yoke, and cut the throats of the garrison that lay in 
Thebes. Upon which, the Lacedaemonians making war 
upon the revolters, the Thebans met them at Leuctra, con- 
fident of success from the name of the place ; for that 
formerly they had been there delivered from slavery, at 
what time Amphictyon, being driven into exile by Sthene- 
lus, came to the city of Thebes, and finding them tributa- 
ries to the Chalcidians, after he had slain Chalcodon king 
of the Euboeans, eased them altogether of that burthen. 
In like manner it happened that the Lacedaemonians 
were vanquished not far from the monument of Scedasus's 
daughters. It is reported also, that before the fight, Pe- 
lopidas being then one of the Theban generals, and trou- 
bled by reason of some certain signs that seemed to por- 
tend some ill event in the battle, Scedasus appeared to him 
in a dream and bade him be of good courage, for that the 
Lacedaemonians were come to Leuctra, to receive the jusf 
vengeance which they deserved from him and his daugh- 
ters ; only the ghost advised him, the day before he en: 


countered the Lacedaemonians, to sacrifice a white colt, 
which he should find ready for him close by his daughters' 
sepulchre. Whereupon Pelopidas, while the Lacedaemo- 
nians yet lay encamped at Tegea,-sent certain persons to 
examin.e the truth of the matter ; and finding by the in- 
habitants thereabouts that every thing agreed with his 
dream, he advanced with his army boldly forward, and 
won the field. 


Phocus was a Boeotian by birth (for he was born in the 
city of Clisas), the father of Callirrhoe, who was a virgin 
of matchless beauty and modesty, and courted by thirty 
young gentlemen, the prime of the Boeotian nobility. 
Phocus therefore, seeing so many suitors about her, still 
pretended one excuse or other to put off her marriage, 
afraid lest some force or other should be put upon her. 
At length, when he could hold out no longer, the gentlemen 
being ofi*ended at his dilatory answers, he desired them to 
refer it to the Pythian Deity to make the choice. But this 
the gentlemen took so heinously, that they fell upon Phocus 
and slew him. In this combustion and tumult, the virgin 
making her escape fled into the country, and was as soon 
pursued by the young sparks ; but lighting upon certain 
country people that were piling up their wheat in a barn, 
by their assistance she saved herself. For the countrymen 
hid her in the corn, so that they who were in chase of her 
passed her by. The virgin thus preserved kept herself 
close till the general assembly of all the Boeotians ; and 
then coming to Coronea, she there sat as a suppliant before 
the altar of Itonian Minerva, and there gave a full relation 
of the viUany and murder committed by her several suitors, 
discovering withal the names of the persons, and places of 



their abode. The Boeotians commiserating the virgin 
were no less incensed against the young gentlemen ; who, 
having notice of what had passed, fled to Orchomenus, but 
being shut out by the citizens, made their escape to Hip- 
potae, a village near to Helicon, seated between Thebes and 
Coronea, where they were received and protected. Thither 
the Thebans sent to have the murderers of Phocus de- 
livered up ; which the inhabitants refusing to do, they 
marched against the town with a good force of other 
Boeotians under the leading of Phoedus, then the chief 
ruler of Thebes. And laying siege to it (for it was a 
strong place), at last they took it for want of water ; and 
in the first place having apprehended all the murderers, 
they stoned them to death; then they condemned the in- 
habitants to perpetual slavery, broke down the walls 
ruined the houses, and divided the land between the The 
bans and Coroneans. The report goes, that the night be 
fore Hippotae was taken, there was a voice heard fro 
Helicon several times uttering these words, I am come ; 
and that when the thirty rivals heard it, they knew it to be 
the voice of Phocus. It was said, moreover, that the very 
day the rivals were stoned, the monument of the old mau; 
w^hich was erected in Clisas was covered with drops of 
saffron. And as Phoedus, the governor and general of the 
Thebans, was upon his march homeward from the siege, 
news was brought him that his wife had brought him a 
daughter, which for the good omen's sake he called by the 
name of Nicostrate. 

Alcippus was a Lacedaemonian by birth, who marrying 1 
Damocrita became the father of two daughters. This 
Alcippus, being a person that always advised the city forJ 


the best, and one that was always ready to serve his coun- 
trymen upon all occasions, was envied by a contrary fac- 
tion, tliat continually accused him to the Ephori as one that 
endeavored to subvert the ancient laws and constitutions 
of the city. At length the Ephori banished the husband, 
who being condemned forsook the city ; but when Damo- 
crita and his daughters would fain have followed him, they 
would not permit them to stir. Moreover, they confiscated 
his estate, to de[)rive his daughters of their portions. Nay, 
more than this, when there were some that courted the 
daughters for the sake of their father's virtue, his enemies 
obtained a decree whereby it was forbid that any man 
should make love to the young ladies, cunningly alleging 
that the mother had often prayed to the Gods to favor her 
daughters with speedy wedlock, to the end t^j^ey might the 
sooner bring forth children to be revenged of the injury 
done their father. Damocrita thus beset, and in a strait 
on every side, stayed till the general festival, when the 
women, together with their daughters, servants, and little 
children, feast in public together ; on which day, the wives 
of the magistrates and persons in dignity feast all night in 
a spacious hall by themselves. But then it w^as that Da- 
mocrita, with a sword girt about her, and taking her daugh- 
ters with her, Avent in the night-time to the temple ; and 
watching her opportunity, when the women were all busy 
in the great hall performing the mysteries of the solemnity, 
after all the ways and passages were stopped up, she 
fetched the wood that was ready prepared for the sacrifices 
appertaining to the festival, and piled it against the doors 
of the room, and so set fire to it. All was then in a hurry, 
and the men came crowding in vain to help their wives ; 
but then it was that Damocrita slew her daughters, and 
upon their dead bodies herself Thus the Lacedaemonians, 
not knowing upon whom to wreak their anger, were forced 
to be contented with only throwing the dead bodies of the 

VOL. IV. 21 



mother and the daughters without the confines of theirl 
territories. For which barbarous act of theirs, the Deity 
being highly offended plagued the Lacedaemonians, asj 
their histories record, with that most dreadful earthquake ] 
so remarkable to posterity. 


1. Plato, being desired by the Cyreneans to prescribe to 
them good laws and to settle their government, refused to 
do it. saying that it was a hard matter to give them any 
law whilst they enjoyed so much prosperity, since nothing 
is so fierce, arrogant, and untamable, as a man that thinks 
himself to be in a happy condition. Wherefore it is very 
difficult to give counsel to princes in matters of govern- 
ment ; for they fear to receive advice as a thing seeming to 
command them, lest the force of reason should seem to 
lessen their power, by obliging it to submit to truth. And 
they consider not the saying of Theopompus, king of 
Sparta, who, being the first in that country that joined 
the Ephori with the Kings, was reproached by his wife, 
because by this means he would leave the kingdom to his 
children less than he found it ; to whom he replied, that 
he should render it so much the greater, the firmer it was. 
For, by holding the reins of government somewhat loose, 
he avoided envy and danger ; nevertheless, since he per- 
mitted the stream of his power to flow so freely into other 
channels, what he gave to them must needs be a loss to 
himself. Though philosophy possessing a prince as his 
assistant and keeper, by taking away the dangerous part of 
fulness of power (as if it were fulness of body), leaves 
the sound part. 

2. But many kings and piinces foolishly imitate those 
unskilful statuaries who think to make their images look 



great and fierce if they make them much straddling, with 
distended arms, and open mouth. After the same manner 
they, by the grave tone of their voice, stern countenance, 
morose behavior, and living apart from all society, would 
affect a kind of majestic grandeur, not unlike those statues 
that without seem to be of an heroic and divine form, but 
within are filled with nothing but earth, stone and lead ; — 
with this only difference, that the weight of these massy 
bodies renders them stable and unmovable ; whereas un- 
learned princes, by their internal ignorance, are often 
shaken and overthrown, and in regard they do not build 
their power on a true basis and foundation, they fall to- 
gether with it. For, as it is necessary at first that the rule 
itself should be right and straight, before those things that 
are applied to it can be rectified and made like unto it ; so 
a potentate ought in the first place to learn how to govern 
his own passions and to endue his mind with a tincture of 
princely virtues, and afterwards to make his subjects con- 
formable to his example. For it is ndt the property of one 
that is ready to fall himself to hinder another from trip- 
ping, nor of one that is rude and illiterate to instruct the 
ignorant ; neither can a person govern that is under no 
government. But most men, being deceived by a false 
opinion, esteem it the chiefest good in ruling to be subject 
to no authority; and thus the Persian king accounted 
all his servants and slaves except his wife, whose master 
he ought more especially to have been. 

3. Who then shall have power to govern a prince? 
The law, without doubt ; which (as Pindar saith) is the 
king of mortal and immortal beings ; which is not written 
without in books nor engraven on wood or stone, but is a 
clear reason imprinted in the heart, always residing and 
watching therein, and never suffering the mind to be with- 
out government. The king of Persia indeed commanded 
one of his lords that lay in the same chamber to attend 


him every morning, and to sound these words in his ears : 
Arise, O king ! and take care of those affairs and duties 
that Oromasdes requires of thee. But a wise and prudent 
prince hath such a monitor within his breast as always 
prompts and admonishes him to the same effect. It was a 
saying of Polemon, that Love was the minister of the Gods, 
appointed to take care of the education of youth ; but it 
might be more truly affirmed, that princes are the admin- 
istrators of the divine power, for the safety and protection 
of mankind, to distribute part of those goods that God be- 
stows on men, and to reserve part for themselves. 

Dost thou behold the vast and azure sky, 
How in its liquid arms the earth doth lie ? * 

The air indeed disperses the first principles of convenient 
seeds, but the earth causeth them to spring forth ; some 
grow and thrive by the means of moderate and refreshing 
showers, some delight in gentle breezes of wind, and some 
are cherished by the influences of the moon and stars ; 
but it is the sun that perfects and beautifies all, inspiring 
them with the principle of mutual sympathy and love. 
Nevertheless, all these so many and so great benefits, that 
are the effects of the divine munificence and liberality, 
cannot be enjoyed or duly made use of, without a law, jus- 
tice, and a prince ; for justice is the end of the law, the 
law is the prince's work, and the prince is the image of 
God, that disposeth all things. He doth not stand in need 
of a Phidias, a Polycletus, or a Myro ; but by the practice 
of virtue makes himself most like the divine nature, and 
becomes a most delectable object to God and man. For 
as God hath placed the sun and moon in heaven, as mani- 
fest tokens of his power and glory, so the majesty of a 
prince is resplendent on earth, as he is his representative 
and vicegerent, 

Who doth like God most righteous laws dispense.! 
 Eurip. Frag. 936. t Odyss. XIX. 109. 


I mean such a one as believes that the likeness of God is 
found in wisdom and understanding, not in the sceptre, the 
thunderbolt, or the trident, with which symbols of Deity 
some have vainly caused themselves to be carved or paint- 
ed, thereby exposing their egregious folly to the world, in 
affecting that which they are not able to attain to. For 
God cannot but be incensed against those that presume to 
imitate him in producing thunder, lightnings, and sun- 
beams ; but if any strive to emulate his goodness and 
mercy, being well pleased with their endeavors, he will 
assist them, and will endue them with his order, justice, 
truth, and gentleness, than which nothing can be more 
sacred and pure, — not fire, not light, nor the course of 
the sun, not the rising and setting of the stars, nor even 
eternity and immortality itself. For God is not only happy 
by reason of the duration of his being, but because of the 
excellency of his virtue ; this is properly divine and tran 
scendent, and that is also good which is governed by it. 

4. Anaxarchus endeavoring to comfort Alexander, who 
was very much afflicted for the murder he had committed 
on the person of Clitus, told him, that justice and right 
sat as assistants by the throne of Jupiter, so that whatso- 
ever was done by a king might be accounted lawful and 
just ; but by this means he indiscreetly prevented his re- 
pentance, and encouraged him to attempt the committing 
the like crimes again. But if we may be permitted to 
guess at these matters, Jupiter hath not Justice for an as- 
sessor or counsellor, but is himself Justice and Right, and 
the original and perfection of all laws. Therefore the 
ancients devised and taught these things, that they might 
thereby show that even Jupiter himself could not rule well 
without Justice ; for she is (according to Hesiod) a pure and 
undefiled virgin, and the companion of Modesty, Reverence, 
Chastity, and Simplicity ; hence kings are called " rever- 
ent," for they ought to be most reverent who fear least. 


But a prince ought to be more afraid of doing than of suf- 
fering ill ; for the former is the cause of the other ; and 
this is a noble and generous sort of fear, well becoming a 
prince, to be solicitous lest any harm should befall his sub- 
jects unawares : 

As faitliful dogs, surprised with sudden fear, 
When once they see the savage beasts appear, 
Not of themselves, but of their flocks take care.* 

Epaminondas, when on a certain festival day the Thebans 
gave themselves up wholly to drinking and carousing, went 
about alone and viewed the arsenal and the walls of the 
city, saymg, that he was sober and vigilant that others 
might have liberty to be drunk and to sleep. And Cato 
at Utica, when he had called together by proclamation all 
his soldiers that had escaped the slaughter to the seaside, 
caused them to embark m ships ; and having prayed for 
their prosperous voyage, returned home and killed him- 
self, leaving an example to princes, whom they ought to 
fear and what they ought to contemn. On the other hand, 
Clearchus, king of Pontus, creeping into a chest, slept 
therein like a snake. And Aristodemus lay with his con- 
cubine in a bed placed in an upper room over a trap-door, 
her mother removing the ladder as soon as they Avere got 
up, and bringing it again in the morning. How then, 
think you, did he fear to be seen in the theatre, in the 
judgment-hall, in the court, or at a feast, who had turned 
his bed-chamber into a prison 1 For indeed good princes 
are possessed with fear for their subjects, but tyrants with 
fear of them ; insomuch that their timorousness incieaseth 
with their power, since the more people they have under 
their dominion, so much the more objects they see of dread 
and terror. 

5. Neither is it probable or convenient (as some philos- 
ophers affirm) that God should be mingled together with 

 II. X. 183. 


matter that is altogether passive, and with things obnox- 
ious to innumerable necessities, chances, and mutations ; 
but to us he seems to be placed somewhere above with the 
eternal nature that always operates - after the same man- 
ner ; and proceeding (as Plato saith) on sacred foundations, 
according to nature, he brings his works to perfection. 
And as he hath placed the sun in the firmament, as a clear 
image of his most sacred and glorious essence, in which, 
as in a mirror, he exhibits himself to the contemplation of 
wise men ; so in like m.anner, the splendor of justice that 
appears in some cities is a kind of representation of the 
divine wisdom, which happy and prudent persons describe 
by the help of philosophy, conforming themselves to those 
things which are of a most sublime and excellent nature. 
It is certain that this disposition of mind cannot be at- 
tained but by the doctrine of philosophy ; otherwise we 
shall lie under the same circumstances as Alexander, who 
seeing Diogenes at Corinth, and being astonished at his 
ingenuity and majestic gravity, let fall this expression: 
If I were not Alexander, I would choose to be Diogenes. 
For being almost oppressed with the weight of his own 
grandeur and power, which are the impediments of virtue m 
and ease,' he seemed to envy the happiness of a threadbare 
cloak and pouch, with which the Cynic rendered himself 
as invincible as he could be with all his armor, horses, and 
pikes. However, he had an opportunity to philosophize a 
and to become Diogenes in his mind, though he remained 
Alexander in his outward state and condition, and he might 
more easily be Diogenes, because he was Alexander ; for- 
asmuch as to keep the vessel of his prosperous fortune 
steady, which was tossed with the winds and waves, he 
stood in need of a good quantity of ballast and of a skil- 
ful pilot. 

6. Amongst the mean and inferior sort of people, folly 
mingled with weakness is destitute of an ability to do mis- 


chief; and the mind is vexed and distracted by it, as a 
distempered brain is with troublesome dreams, insomuch 
that it hath not strength enough to execute what it desires. 
But power joined with a corrupt and depraved inclination 
adds the fuel of madness to the fire of the passions. So 
true is that saying of Dionysius, who declared, that he 
then chiefly enjoyed his authority, when he speedily per- 
formed what he designed. But herein lies the greatest 
danger, lest he that is able to do all things that he desires 
should desire those things that he ought not * 

The word's no sooner said, but th' act is done.* 

Vice, being furnished with wheels by power, sets all the 
fticulties of the soul in a violent fermentation ; of anger it 
makes murder, of love adultery, and of covetousness the 
confiscation of other men's goods. 

The word's no sooner said, — 

but the ofiender is executed ; a suspicion arises, — the 
accused person is put to death. And as naturalists afiirm, 
that the lightning breaks forth after the thunder as the 
blood follows the wound, but is seen first, since whilst the 
ear expects the sound the eye discerns the light ; so under 
some governments the punishments precede the accusation, 
and the condemnation prevents the proving of the crime. 
Under such circumstances, 

No human soul such license can withstand, — 
As anchors strive in vain to hold in gand, 

unless this exorbitant power be restrained and kept within 
its due bounds by the force of sound reason. Therefore a 
prince ought to imitate the sun, which being come to its 
greatest height in the northern signs, moves slowest, where- 
by he renders his course the more safe. 

7. For it is not possible that the vices and faults of per- 
sons in authority can be concealed in obscurity. But as 

 II. XIX. 242. 


people that are troubled with the falling-sickness, if they 
walk about in a high place, are seized with a giddiness in 
the head and a dimness in the sight, which are the usual 
symptoms of that disease ; so Fortune, when she hath a 
little exalted illiterate and foolish men with riches, glory, 
or authority, suddenly hastens their ruin. And as amongstl 
empty vessels it cannot easily be discerned which are whole" 
and which are leaky, but by the pouring in of any liquor ; 
so corrupt and exulcerated minds, after the infusion of 
power, are not able to contain it, but immediately overflow 
with concupiscence, anger, arrogance, and folly. And what 
need is there of mentioning these particulars, since thq 
least faults and miscarriages of renowned and famous men 
lie under the lash of slander and calumny? Cimon was 
accused for being too much addicted to the drinking of 
wine, Scipio was blamed for delighting in immoderate 
sleep, and LucuUus for making too liberal and costly en- 
tertainments. ... 


1. The style, O Alexander, of Herodotus, as being sim- 
ple, free, and easily suiting itself to its subject, has de- 
ceived many ; but more, a persuasion of his dispositions 
being equally sincere. For it is not only (as Plato says) 
an extreme injustice, to make a show of being just when 
one is not so ; but it is also the highest malignity, to pre- 
tend to simplicity and mildness and be in the mean time 
really most malicious. Now since he principally exerts 
his malice against the Boeotians and Corinthians, though 
without sparing any other, I think myself obliged to de- 
fend our ancestors and the truth against this part of his 
writings, since those who would detect all his other lies 
and fictions would have need of many books. But, as 
Sophocles has it, the face of persuasion is prevalent, espe^ 
cially when delivered in good language, and such as has 
power to conceal both the other absurdities and the ill- 
nature of the writer. King Philip told the Greeks who 
revolted from him to Titus Quinctius, that they had got a 
more polished, but a longer-lasting yoke. So the malice 
of Herodotus is indeed more polite and delicate than that 
of Thcopompus, yet it pinches closer, and makes a more 
severe impression, — not unlike to those winds which, 
blowing secretly through narrow chinks, are sharper than 
those that are more diffused. Now it seems to me very 
convenient to delineate, as it were, in a rough draught, 



those signs and marks that distinguish a malicious nar; 
tion from a candid and unbiassed one, applying afterward 
every point we shall examine to such as appertain to the 

2. First then, whoever in relating a story shall use t 
most odious terms when gentler expressions might do as 
well, is not to be esteemed impartial, but an cnjoyer of his 
own fancy, in putting the Avorst construction on things ; as 
if any one, instead of saying Nicias is too much given t( 
superstition, should call him fanatic, or should accus< 
Clcon of presumption and madness rather than of incou; 
siderateness in speech. 

3. Secondly, when a writer, catching hold of a faul 
. . which has no reference to his story, shall draw it into th( 

relation of such affairs as need it not, extending his narra 
tive with circumlocutions, only that he may insert a man'j 
misfortune, offence, or discommendable action, it is maid- 
fest that he delights in speaking evil. Therefore Thucy 
dides would not clearly relate the faults of Cleon, which 
-were very numerous ; and as for Ilyperbolus the oratorj|| 
having touched at him in a word and called him an ill 
man, he let him go. Pliilistus also passed over all those 
outrages committed by Dionysius on the barbarians which . 
had no connection with the Grecian affairs. For the ex-f | 
cursions and digressions of history are principally allowed 
for fables and antiquities, and sometimes also for enco- 
miums. But he who makes reproaches and detractions an 

addition to his discourse seems to incur^ the tragedian's 

curse on the " collector of men's calamities." 

4. Now the opposite to this is known- to every one, as 
the omitting to relate some good and laudable action, 
which, though it may seem not to be reprehensible, yet is 
then done maliciously when the omission happens in a 
place that is pertinent to the history. For to praise un- 
willingly is so far from being more civil than to dispraise 
willingly, that it is perhaps rather more uncivil. 



5. The fourth sign of a partial disposition in writing of 
history I take to be this : When a matter is related in two 
or more several manners, and the historian shall embrace 
the worst. Sophisters indeed are permitted, for the obtain- 
ing either of profit or reputation, to undertake the defence 
of the worst cause ; for they neither create any firm belief 
of the matter, nor yet do they deny that they are often 
pleased in maintaining paradoxes and making incredible 
things appear probable. But an historian is then just, " 
when he asserts such things as he knows to be true, and 
of those that are uncertain reports rather the better than 
the worse. Nay, there are many writers who wholly omit 
the worse. Thus Ephorus writes of Themistocles, that he 
was acquainted with the treason of Pausanias and his 
negotiations with the King's lieutenants, but that he neither 
consented to it, nor hearkened to Pausanias's proffers of 
making him partaker of his hopes ; and Thucydidcs left 
the whole matter out of his story, as judging it to be 

6. Moreover, in things confessed to have been done, but 
for doing which the cause and intention is unknown, he 
who casts his conjectures on the worst side is partial and 
malicious. Thus do the comedians, who affirm the Pelo- 
ponnesian war to have been kindled by Pericles for the 
love of Aspasia or the sake of Phidias, and not through 
any desire of honor, or ambition of pulling down the 
Peloponnesian pride and giving place in nothing to the 
Lacedaemonians. For those who suppose a bad cause for 
laudable works and commendable actions, endeavoring by 
calumnies to insinuate sinister suspicions of the actor when 
they cannot openly discommend the act, — as they that 
impute the killing of Alexander the tyrant by Tlieba not 
to any magnanimity or hatred of vice, but to a certain 
feminine jealousy and passion, and those that say Cato 
slew himself for fear Caesar should put him to a more 


shameful death, — sucli as these are manifestly in th 
hi2:hest degree envious and malicious. 

7. An historical narration is also more or less guilty o 
malice, according as it relates the manner of the action 
as if one should be said to have performed an explo 
rather by money than valor, as some affirm of Philip ; 
else easily and without any labor, as it is said of Alexander 
or else not by prudence, but by Fortune, as the enemies o 
Timotheus painted cities falling into his nets as he la 
sleeping. For they undoubtedly diminish the greatnes 
and beauty of the actions, who deny the performers o: 
them to have done them generously, industriously, vii 
tuously, and by themselves. 

8. Moreover, those who will directly speak ill of an 
one incur the reproach of moroseness, rashness, and mad 
ness, unless they keep within measure. But they wh 
send forth calumnies obliquely, as if they were shootin 
arrows out of corners, and then stepping back think t( 
conceal themselves by saying they do not believe what the 
most earnestly desire to have believed, whilst they disdain 
all malice, condemn themselves also of farther disingeni 

9. Next to these are they who with their reproache 
intermix some praises, as did Aristoxenus, who, havin 
termed Socrates unlearned, ignorant, and libidinous, addec 
Yet was he free from injustice. For, as they who ilatte 
artificially and craftily sometimes mingle light reprehen 
sions with their many and great praises, joining this libert 
of speech as a sauce to their flattery ; so malice, that i 
may gain belief to its accusations, adds also praise. 

10. We might here also reckon up more notes ; but 
these are sufficient to let us understand the nature and 
manners of Herodotus. 

11. First therefore, — beginning, as the proverb is, with 
Vesta, — whereas all the Grecians affirm lo, daughter to 


Inaclius, to have been worshipped with divine honor by 
the barbarians, and by her glory to have left her name to 
many seas and principal passages, and to have given a 
source and original to most noble and royal families ; this 
famous author says of her, that she gave herself to certain 
Phoenician merchants, having been not unwilHngly deflow- 
ered by a mariner, and fearing lest she should be found by 
her friends to be with child.* And he belies the Phoeni- 
cians as having delivered these things of her, and says 
that the Persian stories testify of her being carried away 
by the Phoenicians with other women.f Presently after, 
he gives sentence on the bravest and greatest exploits of 
Greece, saying that the Trojan war was foolishly under- 
taken for an ill woman. For it is manifest, says he, that 
had they not been willing they had never been ravished. J 
Let us then say, that the Gods also acted foolishly, in 
inflicting their indignation on the Spartans for abusing the 
daughters of Scedasus the Leuctrian, and in punishing 
Ajax for the violation of Cassandra. For it is manifest, if 
we believe Herodotus, that if they had not been willing 
they had never been defiled. And yet he himself said that 
Aristomenes was taken alive by the Spartans ; and the 
same afterwards happened to Philopoemen, commander of 
the Achaeans ; and the Carthaginians took Regulus, the 
consul of the Romans ; than whom there are not easily to 
be found more valiant and warlike men. Nor is it to be 
wondered, since even leopards and tigers are taken alive 
by men. But Herodotus blames the poor women that 
have been abused by violence, and patronizes their rav- 

12. Nay, he is so favorable to the barbarians, that, 
acquitting Busiris of those human sacrifices and that 
slaughter of his guests for which he is accused, and attrib- 
uting by his testimony to the Egyptians much religion and 

• Ilerod. I. 5. t Herod. I. 1. | Herod. I. 4. 


justice, he endeavors to cast that abominable wickedness 
and those impious murders on the Grecians. For in his 
Second Book he says, that Menelaus, having received 
Helen from Proteus and having been honored by him with 
many presents, showed himself a most unjust and wicked 
man ; for wanting a fair wind to set sail, he found out a 
impious device, and having taken two of the inhabitants' 
boys, consulted their entrails ; for which villany being 

\ hated and persecuted, he fled with his ships directly into 
Libya.* From what Egyptian this story proceeds, I know 
not. For, on the contrary, many honors are even at this 
day given by the Egyptians both to Helen and Menelaus. 
13. The same Herodotus, that he may still be like him- 
self, says that the Persians learned the defiling of the male 
sex from the Greeks. f And yet how could the Greeks 

^^ have taught this impurity to the Persians, amongst whom, 
as is confessed by almost all, boys had been castrated before 
ever they arrived in the Grecian seas ? He writes also, 
that the Greeks were instructed by the Egyptians in their 
pomps, solemn festivals, and worship of the twelve Gods ; 
that Melampus also learned of the Egyptians the name of 
Dionysus (or Bacchus) and taught it the other Greeks ; 
that the mysteries likewise and rites of Ceres were brought 
out of Egypt by the daughters of Danaus ; and that the 
Egyptians were wont to beat themselves and make great 
lamentation, but yet he himself would not tell the names 
of their Deities, but concealed them in silence. As 
to Hercules and Bacchus, whom the Egyptians named 
Gods, and the Greeks very aged men, he nowhere feels 
such scruples and hesitation ; although he places also the 
^ Egyptian Hercules amongst the Gods of the second rank, 
and Bacchus amongst those of the third, as having had 
some beginning of their being and not being eternal, and 
yet he pronounces those to be Gods; but to the Greek 

* See Herod. II. 45. t Herod. I. 135. 


Bacchns and Hercules, as having been mortal and being 
now demi gods, he thinks we ought to perform anniver- 
sary solemnities, but not to sacrifice to them as to Gods. 
The same also he said of Pan, overthrowing the most ven- 
erable and purest sacrifices of the Greeks by the proud 
vanities and mythologies of the Egyptians.* 

14. Nor is this impious enough ; but moreover, deriving 
the pedigree of Hercules from Perseus, he says that Perseus 
was an Assyrian, as the Persians affirm. "But the leaders," 
says he, •' of the Dorians may appear to be descended in a 
right line from the Egyptians, reckoning their ancestors 
from before Danae and Acrisius."f Here he has wholly 
passed by Epaphus, lo, lasus, and Argus, being ambitious 
not only to make the other Herculeses Egyptians and 
Phoenicians, but to carry this also, whom himself affirms 
to have been the third, out of Greece to the barbarians. 
But of the ancient learned writers, neither Homer, nor 
Hesiod, or Archilochus, nor Pisander, nor Stesichorus, nor 
Alcman, nor Pindar, makes any mention of the Egyptian 
or the Phoenician Hercules, but all acknowledge this our 
own Boeotian and Argive Hercules. 

15. Now of the seven sages, whom he calls Sophisters, 
he affirms Thales to have been a barbarian, descended of 
the Phoenicians. J Speaking ill also of the Gods under 
the person of Solon, he has these words : " Thou, O 
Croesus, askest me concerning human affairs, who know 
that every one of the Deities is envious and tumultuous." § 
Thus attributing to Solon what himself thinks of the Gods, 
he joins malice to blasphemy. Having made use also of 
Pittacus in some trivial matters, not worth the mentioning, 
he has passed over the greatest and gallantest action that 
was ever done by him. For when the Athenians and 

* For the passages referred to in thii chapter, see Ilerod. II. 48-51, 115, 146, 

t Ilerod. VI. 68, 54. J Ilerod. I. 170. § Ilerod. I. 32. 

VOL. IV. 22 



Mitylenaeans were at war about Sigaeum, Phrynon, the 
Athenian general, challenging whoever would come forth 
to a single combat, Pittacus advanced to meet him. and 
catching him in a net, slew that stout and giant-like man ; 
for which when the Mitylenaeans offered him great presents, 
darting his javelin as far as he could out of his hand, he 
desired only so much ground as he should reach with that 
throw ; and the place is to this day called Pittacium. Now 
what does Herodotus, when he comes to this? Instead 
of Pittacus's valiant act, he tells us the fight of Alcaeus 
the poet, who throwing away his arms ran out of the 
battle ; by thus not writing of honorable deeds and not 
passing over such as are dishonorable, he gives his 
testimony to those who say, that from one and the same 
malice proceed both envy and a rejoicing at other men's 

16. After this, he accuses of treason the Alcmaeonidae, 
who showed themselves generous men, and delivered their 
country from tyranny.f He says, that they received Pisis- 
tratus after his banishment and got him called home, on 
condition he should marry the daughter of ^legacies ; but 
the damsel saying to her mother. Do you see, mother, how 
I am not known by Pisistratus according to nature ? the 
Alcmaeonidae were so offended at this villany, that they 
expelled the tyrant. 

17. Now that the Lacedaemonians might have no less 
share of his malice than the Athenians, behold how he 
bespatters Othryadas, the man most admired and honored 
by them. " He only," says Herodotus, " remaining alive 
of the three hundred, and ashamed to return to S[)arta, 
his companions being lost, slew himself on the si)ot at 
Thyreae." J For having before said the victory was doubt- 
ful on both sides, he here, by making Othryadas ashamed, 
witnesses that the Lacedaemonians were vanquished. For 

* Herod. V. 95. f Herod. I. 61. J Herod. I. 82 


it was shameful for him to survive, if conquered ; but glo- 
rious, if conqueror. 

18. I pass by now, that having represented Croesus as 
foolish, vain-glorious, and ridiculous in all things, he makes 
him, when a prisoner, to have taught and instructed Cyrus, 
who seems to have excelled all other kings in prudence, 
virtue, and magnanimity.* Having testified of the same 
Croesus nothing else that was commendable, but his hon- 
oring the Gods with many and great oblations, he shows 
that very act of his to have been the most impious of all. 
For he says, that he and his brother Pantoleon contended 
for the kingdom while their father w^as yet alive ; and that 
Croesus, having obtained the crown, caused a companion 
and familiar friend of Pantoleon's to be torn in pieces in a 
fulling-mill, and sent presents to the Gods from his estate, f 
Of Deioces also, the Median, who by virtue and justice 
obtained the government, he says that he got it not by 
real but pretended justice. J 

19. But I let pass the barbarian examples, since he has 
offered us plenty enough in the Grecian affairs. He says, 
that the Athenians and most other lonians were so ashamed 
of that name that they wholly refused to be called lonians ; 
and that those who esteemed themselves the noblest among 
them, and who had set forth from the very Pryttmeum of 
Athens, begat children on barbarian wives whose parents, 
husbands, and former children they had slain ; that the 
women had therefore made a law among themselves, con- 
firmed it by oath, and delivered it to be kept by their 
daughters, never to eat with their husbands, nor to call 
any of them by his name ; and that the present Milesians 
are descended from these women. Having afterwards 
added that those are true lonians who celebrate the feast 
called Apaturia ; they all, says he, keep it except the 

* Herod. I. 155, 150, 207, 208. t Herod. I. 92. 

t Herod. I. %. 



Ephesians and Colophonians.* In this manner does he 
deprive these two states of their nobility. 

20. He says moreover, that the Cumaeans and Mity- 
lenaeans agreed with Cyrus to deliver up to him for a 
price Pactyas, who had revolted from him. I know not 
indeed, says he, for how much ; since it is not certain what 
it was. Well done ! — not to know what it was, and yet to 
cast such an infixmy on a Grecian city, as if he had an 
assured knowledge ! He says farther, that the Chians 
took Pactyas, who was brought to them out of the temple 
of Minerva Poliuchus (or Guardianess of the city), and 
delivered him up, having received the city Atarneus for 
their recompense. And yet Charon the Lampsacenian, a 
more ancient writer, relating this matter concerning Pac- 
tyas, charges neither the Mitylenaeans nor the Chians with 
any such impious action. These are his very words : " Pac- 
tyas, hearing that the Persian army drew near, fled first 
to Mitylene, then to Chios, and there fell into the hands , 
of Cyrus." t 

21. Our author in his Third Book, relating the expedi- 
tion of the Lacedaemonians against the tyrant Poly crates, 
affirms, that the Samians think and say that the Spartans, 
to recompense them for their former assistance against the 
Messenians, both brought back the Samians that were ban- 
ished, and made war on the tvrant ; but that the Lacedae- 
monians deny this, and say, they undertook this design not 
to help or deliver the Samians, but to punish them for 
having taken away a cup sent by them to Croesus, and be- 
sides, a breastplate sent them by Amasis. J And yet we 
know that there was not at that time any city so desirous 
of honor, or such an enemy to tyrants, as Sparta. For 
what breastplate or cup was the cause of their driving the 
Cypselidae out of Corinth and Ambracia, Lygdamis out of 

* Ilerod. I. 143-148. t See Ilerod. I. 157, &c. 

t Herod. III. 47, 48. 


Naxos, the children of Pisistratus out of Athens, Aeschines 
out of Sicyon, Symmachus out of Thasus, Aulis out of 
Phocis, and Aristogenes out of Miletus ; and of their over- 
turning the domineering powers of Thessaly, pulling down 
Aristomedes and Angelus by the help of King Leotychides ? 
— which fiicts are elsewhere more largely described. Now, 
if Herodotus says true, they were in the highest degree 
guilty both of malice and folly, when, denying a most hon- 
orable and most just cause of their expedition, they con- 
fessed that in remembrance of a former injury, and too 
highly valuing an inconsiderable matter, they invaded a 
miserable and afflicted people. 

22. Now perhaps he gave the Lacedaemonians this 
stroke, as directly falling under his pen ; but the city of 
Corinth, which was wholly out of the course of his story, 
he has dragged in — going out of his way (as they say) to 
seize upon it — and has bespattered it with a most filthy 
crime and most shameful calumny. " The Corinthians," 
says he, " studiously forwarded this expedition of the Lace- 
daemonians to Samos, as having themselves also been for- 
merly affronted by the Samians. The matter was this. 
Periander tyrant of Corinth sent three hundred boys, sons 
to the principal men of Corcyra, to King Alyattes, to be 
gelt. These, going ashore in the island of Samos, were 
by the Samians taught to sit as suppliants in the temple of 
Biana, where they preserved them, setting before them for 
their food sesame mixed with honey. This our author 
calls an affront put by the Samians on the Corinthians, who 
therefore instigated the Lacedaemonians against them, to 
wit, because the Samians had saved three hundred children 
of the Greeks from being unmanned. By attributing this 
villany to the Corinthians, he makes the city more wicked 
than the tyrant, lie indeed was revenging himself on 
those of Corcyra who had slain his son ; but what had the 
Corinthians suffered, that they should punish the Samians 




for putting an obstacle to so great a cruelty and wicked 
ness ] — and this, after three generations, reviving the 
memory of an old quarrel for the sake of that tyranny,, 
which they found so grievous and intolerable that they are' 
still endlessly abolishing all the monuments and marks of 
it, though long since extinct. Such then was the injury 
done by the Samians to the Corinthians. Now what a 
kind of punishment was it the Corinthians would have in-: 
flicted on them ? Had they been indeed angry with the 
Samians, they should not have incited the Lacedaemonians,^ 
but rather diverted them from their war against Polycrates 
that the Samians might not by the tyrant's overthrow re 
cover liberty, and be freed from their slavery. But (what" 
is most to be observed) why were the Corinthians so of- 
fended with the Samians, that desired indeed but were no 
able to save the Corcyraeans' children, and yet were noti 
displeased with the Cnidians, who both preserved them and 
restored them to their friends ? Nor indeed have the 
Corcyraeans any great esteem for the Samians on this ac- 
count ; but of the Cnidians they preserve a grateful memo- 
ry, having granted them several honors and privileges, and 
made decrees in their favor. For these, sailing to Samos, 
drove away Periander s guards from the temple, and tak- 
ing the children aboard their ships, carried them safe to 
Corcyra ; as it is recorded by Antenor the Cretan, and by J 
Dionysius the Chalcidian in his foundations. Now that 
the Spartans undertook not this war on any design of pun- 
ishing the Samians, but to save them by delivering them 
from the tyrant, we have the testimony of the Samians 
themselves. For they affirm that there is in Samos a 
monument erected at the public charge, and honors there 
done to Archias a Spartan, who fell fighting valiantly in 
that quarrel ; for which cause also his posterity still keep a 
familiar and friendly correspondence with the Samians, as 
Herodotus himself witnesses. 



23. In his Fifth Book, he says, that CHsthenes, one of 
the best and noblest pien in Athens, persuaded the priestess 
Pythia to be a false prophetess, and always to exhort the 
Lacedaemonians to free Athens from the tyrants ; calum- 
niating this most excellent and just action by the imputation 
of so great a wickedness and imposture, and taking from 
Apollo the credit of that true and good prophecy, beseem- 
ing even Themis herself, who is also said to have joined 
with hini. He says farther, that Isagoras prostituted his 
wife to Cleomenes, who came to her.* Then, as his man- 
ner is, to gain credit by mixing some praises with his re- 
proaches, he says: Isagoras the son of Tisander was of a 
noble family, but I cannot tell the original of it ; his kins- 
men, however, sacrifice to the Carian Jupiter.f O this 
pleasant and cunning scoffer of a writer, who thus disgrace- 
fully sends Isagoras to the Carians, as it were to the ravens. 
As for Aristogiton, he puts him not forth at the back door, 
but thrusts him directly out of the gate into Phoenicia, 
saying that he had his original from the Gephyraeans, and 
that the Gephyraeans w^ere not, as some think, Euboeans 
or Eretrians, but Phoenicians, as himself has learned by 
report. J And since he cannot altogether take from the 
Lacedaemonians the glory of having delivered the Athe- 
nians from the tyrants, he endeavors to cloud and disgrace 
that most honorable act by as foul a passion. For he says, 
they presently repented of it, as not having done well, in 
that they had been induced by spurious and deceitful ora- 
cles to drive the tyrants, Avho were their allies and had 
promised to put Athens into their hands, out of their coun- 
try, and had restored the city to an ungrateful people. He 
adds, that they were about to send for Hippias from Si- 
geum, and bring him back to Athens ; but that they were 
opposed by the Corinthians, Sosicles telling them how 
much the city of Corinth had suffered under the tyranny 

• Ilerod. V. 63, 70. t Herod. V. 66. t Herod. V. 68. 



of Cypselus and Periander.* And yet there was no out- 
rage of Periander's more abominable and cruel than his 
sending the three hundred children to be emasculated, for 
the delivering and saving of whom from that contumely, 
the Corinthians, he says, were angry and bore a grudge 
against the Samians, as having put an affront upon them. 
With so much repugnance and contradiction is that malice 
of his discourse filled, which on every occasion insinuates 
itself into his narrations. 

24. After this, relating the action of Sardis, he, as much 
as in him lies, diminishes and discredits the matter ; being 
so audacious as to call the ships which the Athenians sent 
to the assistance of the lonians, who had revolted from the 
King, the beginning of evils, because they endeavored to 
deliver so many and so great Grecian cities from the bar- 
barians. f As to the Eretrians, making mention of them 
only by the way, he passes over in silence a great, gallant, 
and memorable action of theirs. For when all Ionia was 
in a confusion and uproar, and the King's fleet drew nigh, 
they, going forth to meet him, overcame in a sea-fight the 
Cyprians in the Pamphylian Sea. Then turning back and 
leaving their ships at Ephesus, they invaded Sardis and 
besieged Artaphernes, who was fled into the castle, that so  
they might raise the siege of Miletus. And this indeed 
they effected, causing the enemies to break up their camp 
and remove thence in a wonderful fright, and then seeing 
themselves in danger to be oppressed by a multitude, re- 
tired. This not only others, but Lysanias of Mallus also 
in his history of Eretria relates, thinking it convenient, if 
for no other reason, yet after the taking and destruction of 
the city, to add this valiant and heroic act. But this writer 
of ours says, they were defeated, and pursued even to their 
ships by the barbarians ; though Charon the Lampsacenian 
has no such thing, but writes thus, word for word : '' 'Jlie 

* Herod. V. 90, 91. t Herod. V. 97. 


Athenians set forth with twenty galleys to the assistance 
of the lonians, and going to Sardis, took all thereabouts, 
except the King's wall ; which having done, they returned 
to Miletus." 

25. In his Sixth Book, our author, discoursing of the 
Plataeans, — - how they gave themselves to the Lacedae- 
monians, who exhorted them rather to have recourse to the 
Athenians, who were nearer to them and no bad defenders, 
— adds, not as a matter of suspicion or opinion, but as a 
thing certainly known by him, that the Lacedaemonians 
gave the Plataeans this advice, not so much for any good 
will, as through a desire to find work for the Athenians by 
engaging them with the Boeotians.* If then Herodotus is 
not malicious, the Lacedaemonians must have been both 
fraudulent and spiteful ; and the Athenians fools, in suffer- 
ing themselves to be thus imposed on ; and tlie Plataeans 
were brought into play, not for any good-vvill or respect, 
but as an occasion of war. 

26. He is farther manifestly convinced of belying the 
Lacedaemonians, when he says that, whilst they expected 
the fall moon, they failed of giving their assistance to the 
Athenians at Marathon. For they not only made a thou- 
sand other excursions and fights at the beginning of the 
month, without staying for the full moon; but wanted so 
little of being present at this very battle, which was fought 
the sixth day of the month Boedromion, that at their com- 
ing they found the dead still lying in the field. And yet 
he has written thus of the full moon : '-It was impossible 
for them to do these things at that present, being unwilling 
to break the law ; for it was the ninth day of the month, 
and they said, they could not go forth on the ninth day, the 
orb of the moon being not yet full. And therefore they 
stayed for the full moon." f But thou, O Herodotus, trans- 
ferest the full moon from the middle to the beginning of 

• Herod. VI. 108. t Herod. VI. 106. 


the month, and at the same time confoimdest the heavens, 
days, and all things ; and yet thou dost pretend to be the 
historian of Greece ! 

And professing to write more particularly and carefully 
of the affairs of Athens, thou dost not so much as say a 
word of that solemn procession which the Athenians even 
at this day send to Agrae, celebrating a feast of thanks- 
r giving to llecate for their victory. But this helps llerodo- 
) tus to refel the crime with which he is char<>-ed, of havinsr 
j flattered the Athenians for a great sum of money he re- 
\ ceived of them. For if he had rehearsed these things to 
them, they would not have omitted or neglected to notice 
that Philippides, when on the ninth he called tlie Lacedae- 
monians to the fight, must have come from it himself, since 
(as Herodotus says) he went in two days from Athens to 
Sparta ; unless the Athenians sent for their allies to the 
fight after their enemies were overcome. Indeed Diyllus 
the Athenian, none of the most contemptible as an histo- 
rian, says, that he received from Athens a present of ten 
talents, Anytus proposing the decree. Moreover Herodo- 
, tus, as many say, has in relating the fight at Marathon 
derogated from tlie credit of it, by the number he sets down 
of the slain. For it is said that the Athenians made a vow 
to sacrifice so many kids to Diana Agrotera, as they should 
kill barbarians ; but that after the fight, the number of the 
dead appearing infinite, they appeased the Goddess by 
making a decree to immolate five hundred to her every 

27. But letting this pass, let us see what was done after 
the fight. " The b;u-barians," says he, " retiring back with 
the rest of their ships, and taking the Eretrian slaves out 
of the island, where they had left them, doubled the point 
of Sunium, desiring to prevent the Athenians before they 
could gain the city. The Athenians suspected this to have 
been done by a plot of the Alcmaeonidae, who by agree- 





merit sliowed a shield to the Persians when they were got 
into their ships. They therefore doubled the cape of Su- 
niuni." * Let us in this place take no notice of his calling 
the Eretrians slaves, who showed as much courage and 
gallantry in this w^ar as any other of the Grecians, and 
suffered things unworthy their virtue. Nor let us insist 
much on the calumny with which he defames the Alcmae- 
onidae, some of whom were both the greatest families and 
noblest men of the city. But the greatness of the victory 
itself is overthrown, and the end of that so celebrated 
action comes to nothing, nor does it seem to have been a 
fight or any great exploit, but only a light skirmish with 
the barbarians, as the envious and ill-willers afhrm, if they 
did not after the battle fly away, cutting their cables and 
giving themselves to the wind, to carry them as far as 
might be from the Attic coast, but having a shield lifted 
up to them as a signal of treason, made straight with their 
fleet for Athens, in hope to surprise it, and having at 
leisure doubled the point of Sunium, were discovered 
above the port Phalerum, so that the chief and most illus- 
trious men, despairing to save the city, would have be- 
trayed it. For a little after, acquitting the Alcniaconidae, 
he charges others with the treason. " For the shield in- 
deed was shown, nor can it be denied," says he, as if he 
had seen it himself. But this could no Avay be, since the 
Athenians obtained a solid victory ; and if it had been 
done, it could not have been seen by the barbarians, flying 
in a hurry amidst wounds and arrows into their ships, 
and leaving every one the place with all possible speed. 
But when he again pretends to excuse the Alcmaeonidae 
of those crimes which he first of all men objected against 
them, and speaks thus: "I cannot believe that the Alc- 
maeonidae by agreement would ever have lifted up a shield 
to the Persians, and have brought the Athenians under the 

 Ilcrod. VI. 115, 121-124. 


power of the barbarians and Hippias ; " I am reminded 
of a certain proverbial saying, — Stop and be caught, crab, 
and I'll let yon go. For why art thou so eager to catch 
him, if thou wilt let him go when he is caught? Thus 
you first accuse, then apologize ; and you write cahimnies 
against ilkistrious men, which again you refute. And you 
discredit yourself ; for you heard no one but yourself say 
that the Alcmaeonidae lifted up a shield to the vanquished 
and flying barbarians. And in those very things which 
you allege for the Alcmaeonidae, you show yourself a syco- 
phant. For if, as here you write, the Alcmaeonidae were 
more or no less enemies to tyrants than Callias, the son of 
Phaenippus and father of Hipponicus, where will you 
place their conspiracy, of which you write in your First 
Book, that assisting Pisistratus they brought him back 
from exile to the tyranny and would not have driven 
him away till he was accused of unnaturally abusing his 
wife? Such then are the repugnances of these things; 
and by his intermixing the praises of Callias, the son of 
Phaenippus, amidst the crimes and suspicions of the Alc- 
maeonidae, and joining to him his son Hi})ponicus, who 
was (as Herodotus himself says) one of the richest men in 
Athens, he confesses that he brought in Callias not for any 
necessity of the story, but to ingratiate himself and gain 
favor with IIi[)ponicus. 

28. Now, whereas all know that the Argives denied not 
to enter into the common league of the Grecians, though 
they thought not fit to follow and be under the command 
of the Lacedaemonians, who were their mortal enemies, 
and that this was no otherways, our author subjoins a most 
malicious cause for it, writing thus : " When they saw 
they were comprised by the Greeks, knowing that the 
Lacedaemonians would not admit them into a share of the 
command, they requested it, that they might have a pre- 
tence to lie still." " And of this," he says, " the Argive 


ambassadors afterwards put Artaxerxes in mind, when 
they attended him at Susa, and the King said, he esteemed 
no city more his friend than Argos." Then adding, as his 
manner is, to cover the matter, he says : " Of these things 
I know nothing certainly ; but this I know, that all men 
have faults, and that the worst things were not done by 
the Argives ; but I must tell such things as are reported, 
though I am not bound to believe them all ; and let this 
b3 understood of all my narrations. For it is farther said 
that the Argives, when they were not able to sustain the 
war against the Lacedaemonians, called the Persians into 
Greece, willing to suffer any thing rather than the present 
trouble."* Therefore, as himself reports the Ethiopian to 
have said of the ointment and purple, " Deceitful are the 
beauties, deceitful the garments of the Persians," f may not 
any one say also of him, Deceitful are the phrases, deceit- 
ful the figures of Herodotus's speeches ; as being per- 
plexed, unsound, and full of ambiguities ? For as painters 
set off and render more eminent the luminous part of their 
pictures by adding shadows, so he by his denials extends 
his calumnies, and by his dubious speeches makes his sus- 
picions take deeper impression. If the Argives joined not 
with the other Greeks, but stood out through an emula- 
tion of the Lacedaemonians' command and valor, it cannot 
be denied but that they acted in a manner not beseeming 
their nobility and descent from Hercules. For it had been 
more honorable for the Argives under the rule of Siphnians 
and Cythnians to have defended the Grecian liberty, than 
contending with the Spartans for superiority to have 
avoided so many and such signal combats. And if it was 
they who brought the Persians into Greece, because their 
war against the Lacedaemonians succeeded ill, how came 
it to pass, that they did not at the coming of Xerxes openly 
join themselves to the Persians ] Or if they would not 

* Herod. VII. 148-162. t Herod. III. 22. 


figlit under the King, why did they not, being left at home 
make incursions into Laconia, or again attempt Thyreae 
or by some other way disturb and infest the Lacedaem 
nians ? For they might have greatly damaged the Gre 
cians, by hindering the Spartans from going with so grea 
an army to Plataea. 

29. But in this place indeed he has highly magnified the 
Athenians and pronounced them the saviors of Greece, 
doing herein rightly and justly, if he had not intermixe 
many reproaches with their praises. But now, when h 
says * that (had it not been for the Athenians) the Lace 
daemonians would have been betrayed by the other Greeks 
and then, being left alone and having performed grea 
exploits, they would have died generously ; or else, bavin 
before seen that the Greeks were favoring the MedesJ 
they would have made terms with Xerxes ; it is manifest, 
he speaks not these things to the commendation of th 
Athenians, but he praises the Athenians that he may spea 
ill of all the rest. For how can any one now be angry 
with him for so bitterly and intemperately upbraiding the 
Thebans and Phocians at every turn, when he charges even 
those who exposed themselves to all perils for Greece with 
a treason which was never acted, but which (as he suspects) 
might have been acted. Nay, of the Lacedaemonians them- 
selves, he makes it doubtful whether they would have fallen 
in the battle or have yielded to the enemy, distrusting the 
proofs of their valor which were shown at Thermopylae ; 
— and these indeed were slight ! 

30. After this, when he declares the shipwreck that be- 
fell the King's fleet, and how, an infinite mass of wealth 
being cast away, Aminocles the Magnesian, son of Cresines, 
was greatly enriched by it, having gotten an immense 
quantity of gold and silver ; he could not so much as let 
this pass without snarling at it. " For this man," says he, 

* Herod. VII. 139. 



" wlio had till then been none of the most fortunate, by 
wrecks became exceedmg rich ; for the misfortune he had 
in killins: his son much afflicted his mind." * This indeed 
is manifest to every one, that he brought this golden treas- 
ure and this wealth cast up by the sea into his history, that 
he might make way for the inserting Aminocles's killing 
his son. 

31. Now Aristophanes the Boeotian wrote, that He- 
rodotus demanded money of the Thebans but received 
none, and that going about to discourse and reason with 
the young men, he was prohibited by the magistrates 
through their clownishness and hatred of learning ; of 
which there is no other argument. But Herodotus bears 
witness to Aristophanes, whilst he charges the Thebans 
with some things falsely, with others ignorantly, and with 
others as hating them and having a quarrel with them. 
For he affirms that the Thessalians at first upon necessity 
inclined to the Persians,'|' in which he says the truth ; and 
prophesying of the other Grecians that they would betray 
the Lacedaemonians, he added, that they would not do it 
willingly, but upon necessity, one city being taken after 
another. But he does not allow the Thebans the same 
plea of necessity, although they sent to Tempo five hun- 
dred men under the command of Mnamias, and to Ther- 
mopylae as many as Leonidas desired, who also alone with 
the Thespians stood by him, the rest leaving him after he 
was surrounded. But when the barbarian, having pos- 
sessed himself of the avenues, was got into their confines, 
and Demaratus the Spartan, favoring in right of hospital- 
ity Attaginus, the chief of the oligarchy, had so wrought 
that he became the King's friend and familiar, whilst the 
other Greeks were in their ships, and none came on by 

 Ilerod. VIT. 190. Most scholars interpret tliis passage of Herodotus to mean 
that some accident destroyed one or more of the children of Aminocles. (G.) 
t Herod. Yll. 172 

;j52 of herodotus'S malice. 

land ; then at last being forsaken did they accept condition 
of peace, to which they were compelled by great necessity, 
For they had neither the sea and ships at hand, as had th 
Athenians ; nor did they dwell far off, as the Spartans, wh 
inhabited the most remote parts of Greece ; but were no 
above a day and half's journey from the Persian army, whom 
they had already with the Spartans and Thespians alone 
resisted at the entrance of the straits, and were defeated 
But this writer is so equitable, that having said, " The 
Lacedaemonians, being alone and deserted by their allies, 
w^ould perhaps have made a composition with Xerxes," 
he yet abuses the Thebans, who w^ere driven to the same 
act by the same necessity. But when he could not wholly 
obliterate this most great and glorious act of the Thebans 
yet went he about to deface it with a most vile imputation 
and suspicion, writing thus: "The confederates who had 
been sent returned back, obeying the commands of Leon 
Idas ; there remained only with the Lacedaemonians th 
Thespians and the Thebans: of these, the Thebans stayed 
against their wills, for Leonidas retained them as hostages • 
but the Thespians most willingly, as they said they wouldj 
never depart from Leonidas and those that were with 
him."* Does he not here manifestly discover himself to 
have a peculiar pique and hatred against the Thebans, by 
the impulse of which he not only falsely and unjustly 
calumniated the city, but did not so much as take care to 
render his contradiction probable, or to conceal, at least 
from a few men, his being conscious of having knowingly 
contradicted himself? For having before said that Leonidas, 
perceiving his confederates not to be in good heart nor pre- 
pared to undergo danger, wished them to depart, he a little 
after adds that the Thebans were against their wills de- 
tained by him ; whereas, if he had believed them inclined 
to the Persians, he should have driven them away though 

* Herod. VII. 222. 




they had been willing to tarry. For if he thought that 
those who were not brisk would be useless, to what pur- 
pose was it to mix among his soldiers those that were sus- 
pected ] Nor was the king of the Spartans and general of 
all Greece so senseless as to think that four hundred armed 
Thebans could be detained as hostages by his three hun- 
dred, especially the enemy being both in his front and rear. 
For though at iirst he might have taken them along with 
him as hostages ; it is certainly probable that at last, having 
no regard for him, they would have gone away from him, 
and that Leonidas would have more feared Ids being en- 
compassed by them than by the enemy. Furthermore, 
would not Leonidas have been ridiculous, to have sent 
away the other Greeks, as if by staying they should soon 
after have died, and to have detained the Thebans, that 
being himself about to die, he might keep them for the 
Greeks ? For if he had indeed carried them along with 
him for hostages, or rather fol' slaves, he should not have 
kept them with those that were at the point of perishing, 
but have delivered them to the Greeks that went away. 
There remained but one cause that might be alleged for 
Leonidas's unwillingness to let them go, to wit, that they 
might die with him ; and this our historian himself has 
taken away, writing thus of Leonidas's ambition : " Leon- 
idas considering these things, and desirous that this glory 
might redound to the Spartans alone, sent away his confed- 
erates rather for this than because they differed in their 
opinions." * For it had certainly been the height of folly 
to keep his enemies against their wills, to be partakers of 
that glory from which he drove away his confederates. 
But it is manifest from the effects, that Leonidas suspected 
not the Thebans of insincerity, but esteemed them to be 
his steadfast friends. For he marched with his army into 
Thebes, and at his request obtained that which was never 


* Herod. VII. 220. 



granted to any other, to sleep within the temple of Her- 
cules ; and the next morning he related to the Thebans the 
vision that had appeared to him. For he imagined that he 
saw the most illustrious and greatest cities of Greece irregu- 
larly tost and floating up and down on a very stormy and 
tempestuous sea ; that Thebes, being carried above all 
the rest, was lifted up on high to heaven, and suddenly 
after disappeared. And this indeed had a resemblance of 
those things which long after befell that city. 

32. Now Herodotus, in his narration of that fight, hath 
obscured also the bravest act of Leonidas, saying that they 
all fell in the straits near the hill.* But the affair was 
otherwise managed. For when they perceived by night 
that they were encompassed by the barbarians, they 
marched straight to the enemies' camp, and got very near 
the King's pavilion, with a resolution to kill him and leave 
their lives about him. They came then to his tent, killing 
or putting to flight all they met ; but when Xerxes was 
not found there, seeking him in that vast camp and wan-fl 
dering about, they Avere at last with much difficulty slain 
by the barbarians, who surrounded them on every side. 
What other acts and sayings of the Spartans Herodotus 
has omitted, we will write in the Life of Leonidas ; yet that 
hinders not but we may here set down also some few. 
Before Leonidas went forth to that war, the Spartans ex- 
hibited to him funeral games, at which the fathers and 
mothers of those that went along with him were specta- 
tors. Leonidas himself, when one said to him. You lead 
very few with you to the battle, answered, There are many 
to die there. When his wife, at his departure, asked him 
what commands he had for her ; he, turning to her, said, 
I command you to marry good men, and bring them good 
children. After he was enclosed by the enemy at Ther- 
mopylae, desiring to save two that were related to him, he 

 Herod. VII. 225. 


gave one of them a letter and sent him away ; but he re- 
jected it, saying angrily, I followed you as a soldier, not 
as a post. The other he commanded on a message to the 
magistrates of Sparta ; but he, answering by his act, took 
his shield, and stood up in his rank. Who would not 
have blamed another that should have omitted these things ? 
But he who has collected and recorded the fart of Amasis, 
the coming of the thiefs asses, and the giving of bottles, 
and many such like things, cannot seem to have omitted 
these gallant acts and these remarkable sayings by negli- 
gence and oversight, but as bearing ill-will and being un- 
just to some. 

33. He says that the Thebans, being at the first with 
the Greeks, fought compelled by necessity.* For belike 
not only Xerxes, but Leonidas also, had« whipsters follow- 
ing his camp, by whom the Thebans were scourged and 
forced against their wills to fight. And what more sav- 
age libeller could be found than Herodotus, when he says 
that they fought upon necessity, Avho might have gone 
away and fled, and that they inclined to the Persians, 
whereas not one came in to help them. After this, he 
writes that, the rest making to the hill, the Thebans sepa- 
rated themselves from them, lifted up their hands to the 
barbarian, and coming near, cried with a most true voice, 
that they had favored the Persians, had given earth and 
water to the King, that now being forced by necessity they 
were come to Thermopylae, and that they were innocent 
of the King's wound. Having said these things, they ob- 
tained quarter ; for they had the Thessalians for wit- 
nesses of all they said. Behold, how amidst the barbarians' 
exclamations, tumults of all sorts, flights and pursuits, their 
apology was heard, the witnesses examined ; and the Thes- 
salians, in the midst of those that were slain and trodden 
under foot, all being done in a very narrow passage, pat- 

 Herod. VII. 233. 


ronized the Thebans, to wit, because the Thebans had bu 
a Httle before driven away them, who were possessed of 
all Greece as far as Thespiae, having conquered them i 
a battle, and slain their leader Lattamyas ! For thus a 
that time stood matters between the Boeotians and the' 
Thessalians, without any friendship or good-will. But yet 
how did the Thebans escape, the Thessalians helping theni 
with their testimonies'? Some of them, says he, were 
slain by the barbarians ; many of them were by commancj 
of Xerxes marked with the royal mark, beginning witb 
their leader Leontiades. Now the captain of the Thebang 
at Thermopylae was not Leontiades, but Anaxander, a 
both Aristophanes, out of the Commentaries of the Magis- 
trates, and Nicander the Colophonian have taught us. Noi 
did any man before Herodotus know that the Thebam 
were stigmatized by Xerxes ; for otherwise this would 
have been an excellent plea for them against his calumny, 
and this city might well have gloried in these marks, that 
Xerxes had punished Leonidas and Leontiades as hi 
greatest enemies, having outraged the body of the on 
when he was dead, and caused the other to be tormented 
whilst living. But as to a man who makes the barbarian's 
cruelty against Leonidas when dead a sign that he hated 
him most of all men when living,* and yet says that the 
Thebans, though favoring the Persians, were stigmatized 
by them at Thermopylae, and having been thus stigma- 
tized, again cheerfully took their parts at Plataea, it seems 
to me that such a man — like that Hippoclides f who stood 
on his head upon a table and gesticulated with his legs 
— would dance away the truth and exclaim, Herodotus 
cares not for that. 

34. In the Eighth Book our author says, that the 
Greeks being frighted designed to fly from Artemisium 
into Greece, and that, being requested by the Euboeans to 

* Herod. VII. 238. t See Herod. VI. 126-130. 



stay a little till they could dispose of their wives and fam- 
ilies, they regarded them not, till such time as Themisto- 
cles, having taken money of them, divided it between 
Eurybiades and Adimantus, the captain of the Corinthians, 
and that then they stayed and had a sea-fight with the bar- 
barians.* Yet Pindar, who was not a citizen of any of 
the confederate cities, but of one that was suspected to 
take part with the Medians, having made mention of Ar- 
temisium, brake forth into this exclamation : " This is the 
place where the sons of the Athenians laid the glorious 
foundation of liberty." But Herodotus, by whom, as some 
will have it, Greece is honored, makes that victory a work 
of bribery and theft, saying that the Greeks, deceived by 
their captains, who had to that end taken money, fought 
against their wills. Nor does he here put an end to his 
malice. All men in a manner confess that, although the 
Greeks got the better at sea, they nevertheless abandoned 
Artemisium to the barbarians after they had received the 
news of the overthrow at Thermopylae. For it was to no 
purpose for them to stay there and keep the sea, the war 
being already within Thermopylae, and Xerxes having 
possessed himself of the avenues. But Herodotus makes 
the Greeks contriving to fly before they heard any thing of 
Leonidas's death. For thus he says : " But they having 
been ill-treated, and especially the Athenians, half of 
whose ships were sorely shattered, consulted to take their 
flight into Greece. "f But let him be permitted so to name 
(or rather reproach) this retreat of theirs before the fight ; 
but having before called it a flight, he both now styles it a 
flight, and will again a little after term it a flight ; so bit- 
terly does he adhere to this word " flight." " Presently 
after this," says he, " there came to the barbarians in the 
pinnace a man of Hestiaea, who acquainted them with the 
flight of the Grecians from Artemisium. They, because 

* Ilerod. VIII. 4 t Herod. VIII. 18. 


the thing seemed incredible, kept the messenger in 
tody, and sent forth some light galleys to discover 
truth." * But what is this you say ] That they fled as' 
conquered, whom the enemies after the fight could not be- 
lieve to have fled, as having got much the better 1 Is then 
this a fellow fit to be believed when he writes of any man 
- or city, Avho in one word deprives Greece of the victory, 
throws down the trophy, and pronounces the inscriptions 
they had set up to Diana Proseoa [Eastward-loohing) to be 
nothing but pride and vain boasting I The tenor of the 
inscription was as follows : 

When Athens youth had in a naval fight 
All Asia's forces on this sea o'erthrovvn, 
And all the Persian army put to flight, 
Than which a greater scarce was ever known, 
To show how much Diana tliey respected, 
This trophy to her honor they erected. 

Moreover, not having described any order of the Greeks, 
nor told us what place every city of theirs held during the 
sea-fight, he says that in this retreat, which he calls thei 
flight, the Corinthians sailed first and the Athenians last. 

35. He indeed ought not to have too much insulted over' 
the Greeks that took part with the Persians, who, being 
by others thought a Thurian, reckons himself among the 
Halicarnassians, who, being Dorians by descent, went with 
their wives and children to the war against the Greeks. 
But he is so far from giving first an account of the straits . 
they were in who revolted to the Persians, that, having re-^j 
lated how the Thessalians sent to the Phocians, who 
were their mortal enemies, and promised to preserve their 
country free from all damage if they might receive from 
them a reward of fifty talents, he writ thus of the Phocians : 
" For the Phocians were the only people in these quarters 
who inclined not to the Persians, and that, as far as I upon 
due consideration can find, for no other reason but because 

* Herod. VIII. 23. t Herod. VIII. 21. 


they hated the Thessalians ; for if the Thessalians had 
been affected to the Grecian affairs, I suppose the Phocians 
would have joined themselves to the Persians." And yet 
a little after he will say, that thirteen cities of the Phocians 
were burned by the barbarians, their country laid waste, 
and the temple which was in Abae set on fire, and all of 
both sexes put to the sword, except those that by flight 
escaped to Parnassus.* Nevertheless, he puts those who 
sufftjred all extremities rather than lose their honesty in 
the same rank with those who most affectionately sided 
with the Persians. And when he could not blame the 
Phocians' actions, he sat at his desk devising false causes 
and framing suspicions against them, and bidding us judge 
them not by what they did, but by what they would have 
done if the Thessalians had not taken the same side, as if 
they had been shut out from treason because they found 
the place already occupied by others ! Now if any one, 
going about to excuse the revolt of the Thessalians to the 
Persians, should say that they would not have done it but 
for the hatred they bare the Phocians, — whom when they 
saw joined to the Greeks, they against their inclinations 
followed the party of the Persians, — would not such a one 
be thought most shamefully to flatter, and for the sake of 
others to pervert the truth, by feigning good causes for 
evil actions? Indeed, I think, he would. Why then 
would not he be thought openly to calumniate, who says 
that the Phocians chose the best, not for the love of virtue, 
but because they saw the Thessalians on the contrary side ? 
For neither does he refer this device to other authors, as 
he is elsewhere wont to do, but says that himself found it 
out by conjecture. He should therefore have produced 
certain arguments, by which he was persuaded that they, 
who did things like the best, followed the same counsels 
with the worst. For what he alleges of their enmities is 

* Herod. VIII. 30-88. Compare IX. 17. 


ridiculous. For neither did the difference between the 
Aeginetans and the Athenians, nor that between the Chal- 
cidians and the Eretrians, nor yet that between the Corin- 
thians and the Megarians, hinder them from fighting 
together for Greece. Nor did the Macedonians, their most 
bitter enemies, divert the Thessalians from their friendship 
with the barbarians, by joining the Persian party them- 
selves. For the common danger did so bury their private 
grudges, that banishing their other passions, they applied 
their minds either to honesty for the sake of virtue, or to 
profit through the impulse of necessity. And indeed, after 
that necessity which compelled them to obey the Persians 
was over, they returned again to the Greeks, as Lactates 
the Spartan has openly testified of them. And Herodotus, 
as constrained to it, in his relation of the affairs at Plataea, 
confessed that the Phocians took part with the Greeks.* 

36. Neither ought it to seem strange to any, if he thus 
bitterly inveighs against the unfortunate ; since he reckons 
amongst enemies and traitors those who were present at 
the engagement, and together with the other Greeks haz 
arded their safety. For the Naxians, says he, sent three 
ships to the assistance of the barbarians ; but Democritus, 
one of their captains, persuaded the others to take the 
party of the Greeks. f So unable he is to praise without 
dispraising, that if he commends one man he must con 
demn a whole city or people. But in this there give testi- 
mony against him, of the more ancient writers Hellanicus, 
and of the later Ephorus, one of which says that the 
Naxians came w^ith six ships to aid the Greeks, and the 
other with five. And Herodotus convinces himself of 
hanng feigned these things. For the writers of the 
Naxian annals say, that they had before beaten back m 
Megabates, who came to their island with two hundred 
ships, and after that had put to flight the general Datis, 

* Herod. IX. 31. t Herod. VIII. 46. 


who had set then* city on fire. Now if, as Herodotus has 
elsewhere said, the barbarians burned their city so that 
the men were glad to save themselves by flying into the 
mountains, most surely had they just cause rather to send 
aid to the destroyers of their country than to help the 
protectors of the common liberty. But that he framed 
this lie not so much to honor Democritus, as to cast infamy 
on the Naxians, is manifest from his omitting and wholly 
passing over in silence the valiant acts then performed by 
Democritus, of which Simonides gives us an account in 
this epigram : 

When as the Greeks at sea the Medes did meet, 
And had near Salamis a naval fight, 
Democritus as third led up the fleet, 
Charging the enemy with all his might ; 
He took five of their ships, and did another, 
Which they had taken from the Greeks, recover. 

37. But why should any one be angry with him about 
the Naxians ? If we have, as some say, antipodes inhab- 
iting the other hemisphere, I believe that they also have 
heard of Themistocies and his counsel, which he gave to 
the Greeks, to fight a naval battle before Salamis, after 
which, the barbarian being overcome, he built in Melite a 
temple to Diana the Counsellor. This gentle writer, en- 
deavoring,- as much as in him lies, to deprive Themistocies 
of the glory of this, and transfer it to another, writes thus 
word for word : " Whilst things were thus, Mnesiphilus, 
an Athenian, asked Themistocies, as he was going aboard 
his ship, what had been resolved on in council. And being 
answered, that it was decreed the ships should be brought 
back to Isthmus, and a battle fought at sea before Pelopon- 
nesus ; he said, If then they remove the navy from Salamis, 
you will no longer be fighting for one country ; for they 
will return every one to his own city. Wherefore, if there 
be any way left, go and endeavor to break this resolution ; 
and, if it be possible, persuade Eurybiades to change his 


mind and stay here." Then addmg that this advice pleased 
Themistocles, who, without making any reply, went straight 
to Eurybiades. he has these very expressions : " And sitting 
by him he related what he had heard from Mnesiphilus, 
feigning as if it came from himself, and adding other 
things."* You see how he accuses Themistocles of disin- 
genuity in arrogating to himself the counsel of Mnesi- 

38. And deriding the Greeks still further, he says, that 
Themistocles, who was called another Ulysses for his wis- 
dom, was so blind that he could not foresee what was fit 
to be done ; but that Artemisia, who was of the same city 
with Herodotus, without being taught by any one, but by 
her own consideration, said thus to Xerxes : " The Greeks 
will not long be able to hold out against you, but you will 
scatter them, and they will flee to their own cities ; nor is 
it probable, if you march your army by land to Pelopon- 
nesus, that they will sit still, or take care to fight at sea 
for the Athenians. But if you make haste to give them a 
naval battle, I fear lest your fleets receiving damage may 
prove also very prejudicial to your land-forces." f Cer- 
tainly Herodotus wanted nothing but verses to make Arte- 
misia another Sibyl, so exactly prophesying of things to 
come. Therefore Xerxes also delivered his sons to her to 
be carried to Ephesus ; for he had (it seems) forgot 
to bring women with him from Susa, if indeed the boys 
wanted a train of female attendants. 

39. But it is not our design to search into the lies of 
Herodotus ; we only make enquiry into those which he 
invented to detract from the glory of others. He says : "It 
is reported by the xlthenians that Adimantus, captain of the 
Corinthians, when the enemies were now ready to join 
battle, was struck with such fear and astonishment that he 
fled ; not thrusting his ship backward by the stern, or lei- 

* Herod. VIII. 57, 58. t Herod. VIII. 68. 



surely retreating through those that were engaged, but 
openly hoisting up his sails, and turning the heads of all 
his vessels. And about the farther part of the Salaminian 
coast, he was met by a pinnace, out of which one spake 
thus to him : Thou indeed, Adimantus, iliest, having be- 
trayed the Grecians ; yet they overcome, and according to 
their desires have the better of their enemies." * This 
pinnace was certainly let down from heaven. For what 
should hinder him from erecting a tragical machine, who 
by his boasting excelled the tragedians in all other things ? 
Adimantus then crediting him (he adds) " returned to the 
fleet, when the business was already done." "This re- 
port," says he, " is believed by the Athenians ; but the Cor- 
inthians deny it, and say, they were the first at the sea-fight, 
for which they have the testimony of all the other Greeks." 
Such is this man in many other places, lie spreads diff'er- 
ent calumnies and accusations of diff'erent men, that he 
may not fail of making some one appear altogether wicked. 
And it has succeeded well with him in this place ; for if 
the calumny is believed, the Corinthians — if it is not, the 
Athenians — are rendered infamous. But in truth the Athe- 
nians did not belie the Corinthians, but he hath belied them 
both. Certainly Thucydides, bringing in an Athenian am- 
bassador contesting with a Corinthian at Sparta, and glori- 
ously boasting of many things about the Persian war and 
the sea-fight at Salamis, charges not the Corinthians with 
any crime of treachery or leaving their station. Nor was 
it likely the Athenians should object any such thing against 
Corinth, when they saw her engraven in the third place 
after the Lacedaemonians and themselves on those spoils 
which, being taken from the barbarians, were consecrated 
to the Gods. And in Salamis they had permitted them to 
bury the dead near the city, as being men who had behaved 
themselves gallantly, and to write over them this elegy : 

• Ilerod. VIII. 94. 


Well-watered Corinth, stranger, was our home ; 

Salamis, Ajax's isle, is now our grave ; 
Here Medes and Persians and Phoenician ships 

We fought and routed, sacred Greece to save. 

And their honorary sepulchre at the Isthmus has on it this 

When Greece upon the point of danger stood. 
We fell, defending her with our life-blood* 

Moreover, on the offerings of Diodorus, one of the Corin- 
thian sea-captains, reserved in the temple of Latona, there 
is this inscription : 

Diodorus's seamen to Latona sent 

Tliese arms, of hostile Medes the monument. 

And as for Adimantus himself, against whom Herodotus 
frequently inveighs, — saying, that he was the only captain 
who went about to fly from Artemisium, and would not 
stay the fight, — behold in how great honor he is : 

Here Adimantus rests : the same was he. 

Whose counsels won for Greece the crown of liberty. 

For neither is it probable, that such honor would have been 
shown to a coward and a traitor after his decease ; nor 
would he have dared to give his daughters the names of 
Nausinica, Acrothinius, and Alexibia, and his son that of 
Aristeas, if he had not performed some illustrious and 
memorable action in that fight. Nor is it credible that 
Herodotus was ignorant of that which could not be un- 
known even to the meanest Carian, that the Corinthian 
women alone made that glorious and divine prayer, by 
which they besought the Goddess Venus to inspire thek 
husbands with a love of fighting against the barbarians. 
For it was a thing divulged abroad, concerning which Si- 
monides made an epigram to be inscribed on the brazen 
image set up in that temple of Venus which is said to have 
been founded by Medea, when she desired the Goddess, as M 

* The versions of this epigram and of the last two in this chapter are taken from 
Burges's Greek Anthology. { G.) 


some affirm, to deliver her from loving her husband Jason, 
or, as others say, to free him from loving Thetis. The 
tenor of the epigram follows : 

For those who, fighting on their country's side, 

Opposed th' imperial Mede's advancing tide, 

We, votaresses, to Cy thera pray'd ; 

Th' indulgent power vouchsafed her timely aid, 

-And kept the citadel of Hellas free 

From rude assaults of Persia's archery. 

These things he should rather have written and recorded, 
than have inserted Aminocles's killing of his son. 

40. After he had abundantly satisfied himself with the 
accusations brought against Themistocles, — of whom he 
says that, unknown to the other captains, he incessantly 
robbed and spoiled the islands, — * he at length openly 
takes away the crown of victory from the Athenians, and 
sets it on the head of the Aeginetans, writing thus : "The 
Greeks having sent the first-fruits of their spoils to Delphi, 
asked in general of the God, whether he had a sufficient 
part of the booty and were contented with it. He answered, 
that he had enough of all the other Greeks, but not of the 
Aeginetans ; for he expected a denary 'of them, as having 
won the greatest honor in the battle at Salamis." f See 
here how he attributes not his fictions to the Scythians, to 
the Persians, or to the Egyptians, as Aesop did his to the 
ravens and apes ; but using the very person of the Pyth- 
ian Apollo, he takes from Athens the chief honor of the 
battle at Salamis. And the second place in honor being 
given to Themistocles at the Isthmus by all the other cap- 
tains, — every one of which attributed to himself the first 
degree of valor, but gave the next to Themistocles, — and 
the judgment not coming to a determination, when he 
should have reprehended the ambition of the captains, he 
said, that all the Greeks weighed anchor from thence 

* Herod. VIII. 112. t Herod. VIII. 122. 


through envy, not being willing to give the chief honor 
the victory to Themistocles.* 

41. In his ninth and last book, having nothing left to 
vent his malice on but the Lacedaemonians and their glo- 
rious action against the barbarians at Plataea, he writes, 
that the Spartans at first feared lest the x\thenians should 
suffer themselves to be persuaded by Mardonius to forsake 
the other Greeks ; but that now, the Isthmus being fortified, 
they, supposing all to be safe at Peloponnesus, neglected 
and slighted the rest, feasting and making merry at home, 
and deluding and delaying the Athenian ambassadors. f 
How then did there go forth from Sparta to Plataea a thou- 
sand and five men, having every one of them with him 
seven Helots ? Or how came it that, exposing themselves 
to so many dangers, they vanquished and overthreKv so 
many thousand barbarians | Hear now his probable cause 
of it. " It happened," says he, " that there was then at 
Sparta a certain stranger of Tegea, named Chileus, who 
had some friends amongst the Ephori, between whom and ! 
him there was mutual hospitality. He then persuaded 
them to send forth the army, telling them that the fortifi- 
cation on the Isthmus, by which they had fenced in Pelo- 
ponnesus,' would be of no avail if the Athenians joined 
themselves with Mardonius." J This counsel then drew 
Pausanias with his army to Plataea ; but if any private 
business had kept that Chileus at Tegea, Greece had never 
been victorious. m 

42. Again, not knowing what to do with the Athenians, 
he tosses to and fro that city, sometimes extolling it, and 
sometimes debasing it. He says that, contending for the 
second place with the Tegeatans they made mention of the 
Heraclidae, alleged their acts against the Amazons, and 
the sepulchres of the Peloponnesians that died under the 

* Herod. VIII. 123, 124. f Herod. IX. 8. See also VIII. 141. J|, 

I Herod. IX. 9.  


walls of Cadmea, and at last ambitiously brought down 
their discourse to the battle of Marathon, saying, however, 
that they would be contented with the command of the left 
wing.* A little after, he says, Pausanias and the Spartans 
yielded them the first place, desiring them to fight in the 
right wing against the Persians and give them the left, who 
excused themselves as not skilled in fighting against the 
barbarians. t Now it is a ridiculous thing, to be unwilling 
to fight against an enemy unless one has been used to him. 
But he says farther, that the other Greeks being led by 
their captains to encamp in another place, as soon as they 
were moved, the horse fled with joy .towards Plataea, and 
in their flight came as far as Juno's temple. J In which 
place indeed he charges them all in general with disobedi- 
ence, cowardice, and treason. At last he says, that only 
the Lacedaemonians and the Tegeates fought with the 
barbarians, and the Athenians with the Thebans ; equally 
defrauding all the other cities of their part in the honor of 
the victory, whilst he affirms that none of them joined in 
the fight, but that all of them, sitting still hard by in their 
arms, betrayed and forsook those who fought for them ; 
that the Phliasians and Megarians indeed, when they heard 
Pausanias had got the better, came in late, and falling on 
the Theban horse, were all cut off"; that the Corinthians 
were not at the battle, and that after the victory, by press- 
ing on over the hills, they escaped- the Theban cavalry. § 
For the Thebans, after the barbarians were overthrown, 
going before with their horse, affectionately assisted them 
in their flight ; to return them thanks (forsooth) for the 
marks they had stigmatized them with at Thermopylae ! 
Now what rank the Corinthians had in the fight at Plataea 
against the barbarians, and how they performed their duty, 
you may hear from Simonides iij these verses : 

* Herod. IX. 2G, 27. t Herod. IX. 46. J Herod. IX. 62. 

§ See the account of the battle of Plataea, Herod. IX. 59-70. < 


I* th* midst were men, in warlike feats excelling,. 

Who Ephyre, full of springs, inhabited, 

And who in Corinth, Glaucus' cify, dwelling, 

Great praise by their great valor merited ; 

Of which they to perpetuate the fame, 

To th' Gods of well-wrought gold did offerings frame. 

For he wrote not these things, as one that taught at 
Cormth or that made verses in honor of the city, but 
only as recording these actions in elegiac verses. But 
Herodotus, whilst he desires to prevent that objection by 
which those might convince him of lying who should ask, 
Whence then are so many mounts, tombs, and monuments 
of the dead, at which the Plataeans, even to this day, cele- 
brate funeral solemnities in the presence of the Greeks?— * 
has charged, unless I am mistaken, a fouler crime than 
that of treason on their posterity. For these are his 
words: "As for the other sepulchres that are seen in 
Plataea, I have heard that their successors, being ashamed 
of their progenitors' absence from this battle, erected 
every man a monument for posterity's sake."* Of this 
treacherous deserting the battle Herodotus was the only _ 
man that ever heard. For if any Greeks withdrew them ^ 
selves from the battle, they must have deceived Pausanias, 
Aristides, the Lacedaemonians, and the Athenians. Neither 
yet did the Athenians exclude the Aeginetans who were 
their adversaries from the inscription, nor convince the 
Corinthians of having fled from Salamis before the victory, 
Greece bearing witness to the contrary. Indeed Cleadas, a 
Plataean, ten years after the Persian war, to gratify, as 
Herodotus says, the Aeginetans, erected a mount bearing 
their name. How came it then to pass that the Athenians 
and Lacedaemonians, who were so jealous of each other 
that they were presently after the war ready to go to- 
gether by the ears about the setting up a trophy, did not 
yet repel those Greeks wlio fled in a fear from the battle 

 Herod. IX. 85. 



from having a share in the honor of those that behaved 
themselves valiantly, but inscribed their names on the 
trophies and colossuses, and granted them part of the 
spoils] Lastly they set up an altar, on which was en- 
graven this epigram : 

The Greeks, by valor having put to flight 
The Persians and preserved their country's right. 
Erected here this altar which you see, 
To Jove, preserver of their liberty. 

Did Cleadas, O Herodotus, or some other, write this also, 
to oblige the cities by flattery ? What need had they then 
to employ fruitless labor in digging up the earth, to make 
tombs and erect monuments for posterity's sake, when they 
saw their glory consecrated in the most illustrious and 
greatest donaries 1 Pausanias indeed, when he was aspiring 
to the tyranny, set up this inscription in Delphi : 

Pausanias, of Greeks the general, 

When he the Medes in fight had overthrown. 

Offered to Phoebus a memorial 

Of victory, this monumental stone. 

In which he gave the glory to the Greeks, whose general 
he professed himself to be. Yet the Greeks not enduring 
but utterly misliking it, the Lacedaemonians, sending to 
Delphi, caused this to be cut out, and the names of the 
cities, as it was fit, to be engraven instead of it. Now how 
is it possible that the Greeks should have been offended 
that there was no mention made of them in the inscription, 
if they had been conscious to themselves of deserting the 
fight? or that the Lacedaemonians would have erased the 
name of their leader and general, to insert deserters and 
such as withdrew themselves from the common danger] 
For it would have been a great indignity, that Sophanes, 
Aeimnestus, and all the rest who showed their valor in that 
fight, should calmly suffer even the Cythnians and Melians 
to be inscribed on the trophies ; and that Herodotus, at- 
tributing that fight only to three cities, should raze all 

VOL. IV. 24 



the rest out of those and other sacred monuments and 
donaries. \ 

43. There having been then four fights with the bar- 
barians ; he says, that the Greeks fled from Artemisium ; 
that, whilst their king and general exposed himself to 
danger at Thermopylae, the Lacedaemonians sat negligent 
at home, celebrating the Olympian and Carnean feasts ; 
and discoursing of the action at Salamis, he uses more 
words about Artemisia than he does in his whole narrative 
of the naval battle. Lastly, he says, that the Greeks sat 
still at Plataea, knowing no more of the fight, till it was 
over, than if it had been a skirmish between mice and 
frogs (like that which Pigres, Artemisia's fellow-country^ 
man, merrily and scofflngly described in his poem), and it 
had been agreed to fight silently, lest they should be heard 
by others ; and that the Lacedaemonians excelled not the 
barbarians in valor, but only got the better, as fighting 
against naked and unarmed men. To wit, when Xerxes 
himself was present, the barbarians were with much diffi-ji 
culty compelled by scourges to fight with the Greeks ; but 
at Plataea, having taken other resolutions, as Herodotus 
says, " they were no way inferior in courage and strength ; 
but their garments being without armor was prejudicial to I 
them, since being naked they fought against a completely 
armed enemy." What then is there left great and memor- 
able to the Grecians of those fights, if the Lacedaemonians 
fought with unarmed men, and the other Greeks, though 
present, were ignorant of the battle ; if empty monuments 
are set up everywhere, and tripods and altars full of lying 
inscriptions are placed before the Gods ; if, lastly, Herodo- 
tus only knows the truth, and all others that give any ac- 
count of the Greeks have been deceived by the fame of 
those glorious actions, as the efl'ect of an admirable prow- 
ess 1 But he is an acute writer, his style is pleasant, there 
is a certain grace, force, and elegancy in his narrations ; 


and he has, like a musician, pronounced his discourse, 
though not knowingly, still clearly and elegantly. These 
things delight, please, and affect all men. But as in roses 
we must beware of the venomous flies called cantharides ; 
so must we take heed of the calumnies and envy lying hid 
under smooth and well-couched phrases and expressions, 
lest we imprudently entertain absurd and false opinions 
of the most excellent and greatest cities and men of 



1. LAMrRiAS. You, O Diadumenus, seem not much, to 
care, if any one thinks that you philosophize against the 
common notions ; since you confess that you contemn also 
the senses, from whence the most part of these notions in 
a manner proceed, having for their seat and foundation the 
belief of such things as appear to us. But I beseech you, 
with what speed you can, either by reasons, incantations, 
or some other manner of discourse, to cure me, who come 
to you full, as I seem to myself, of great and strange per- 
turbations ; so much have I been shaken, and into such a 
perplexity of mind have I been brought, by certain Stoics, 
in other things indeed very good men and my familiar 
friends, but most bitterly and hostilely bent against the 
Academy. These, for some few words modestly spoken by 
me, have (for I will tell you no lie) rudely and unkindly 
reprehended me ; angrily reputing and branding the ancient 
philosophers as sophisters and corrupters of students of 
philosophy, and sulDverters of regular doctrines ; and say- 
ing things yet more absurd than these, they fell at last 
upon the conceptions, into which (they maintained) the 
Academics had brought a certain confusion and disturb- 
ance. At length one of them said, that he thought it was 
not by fortune, but by the providence of the Gods, that 
Chrysippus came into the world after Arcesilaus and before 
Carneades ; of which the one was the author of the con- 


tumelies and injuries done to custom, and the other flour- 
ished most of all the Academics. Chrysippus then, coming 
between them, by his writings against Arcesilaus, stopped 
also the way against the eloquence of Carneades, leaving 
indeed many things to the senses, as provisions against a 
siege, but wholly taking away the trouble about anticipa- 
tions and conceptions, directing every one of them and 
putting it in its proper place ; so that they who will again 
embroil and disquiet matters should accomplish nothing, 
but be convinced of being malicious and deceitful sophist- 
ers. I, having been this morning set on fire by these dis- 
courses, want some cooling remedies to extinguish and 
take aw^aj this doubting, as an inflammation, out of my 

2. DiADUMENus. You perhaps have sufl'ered the same 
things with some of the vulgar. But if you believe the 
poets, who say that the ancient city Sipylus was overthrown 
by the providence of the Gods when they punished Tanta- 
lus, believe also the companions of the Stoa saying that 
Nature, not by chance but by divine providence, brought 
forth Chrysippus, when she had a mind to turn things up- 
side down and alter the course of life ; for which purpose 
never any man was fitter than he. But as Cato said of 
Caesar, that never any but he came to the management of 
public aff'airs sober and considerately resolved on the ruin 
of the state ; so does this man seem to me with the greatest 
diligence and eloquence to overturn and demolish custom, 
as they who magnify the man testify, when they dispute 
against him concerning the sophism called Pseudomenos 
(or the Liar). For to say, my best friend, that a conclu- 
sion drawn from contrary positions is not manifestly false, 
and again to say that some arguments having true premises 
and true inductions may yet moreover have the contrary to 
their conclusions true, what conception of demonstration 
or what presumption of faith does it not overthrow ? They 



say, that the polypus in the winter gnaws his own claws ; 
hut the logic of Chrysippus, taking away and cutting off 
its own chiefest parts and principles, — what other notion 
has it left unsuspected of falsehood ? For the superstruc- 
tures cannot be steady and sure, if the foundations remain 
not firm but are shaken with so many doubts and troubles. 
But as those who have dust or dirt upon their bodies, if 
they touch or rub the filth that is upon them, seem rather 
to increase than remove it ; so some men blame the Acade- 
mics, and think them guilty of the faults with which they 
show themselves to be burdened. For who do more per- 
vert the common conceptions than the Stoics ? But if you 
please, let us leave accusing them, and defend ourselves 
from the things with which they charge us. 

3. Lamprias. Methinks, Diadumenus, I am this day be- 
come a various and unconstant man. For erewhile I came 
dejected and trembling, as one that wanted an apology ; 
and now I am changed to an accuser, and desire to enjoy 
the pleasure of revenge, in seeing them all convicted of 
philosophizing against the common conceptions and pre- 
sumptions, from which they think chiefly their doctrine is 
derived, whence they say that it alone agrees with Nature. 

Diadumenus. Shall we then first attack those common 
and celebrated doctrines of theirs which themselves, gen 
tly admitting their absurdity, style paradoxes ; as that only 
wise men are kings, that they only are rich and fair, they 
only citizens and judges 1 Or shall we send all this to the 
brokers, as old decayed frippery, and make our enquiry 
into such things as are most practical and with the great- 
est earnestness delivered by them ? 

Lamprias. I indeed like this best. For who is there 
that is not already full of the arguments brought against 
those paradoxes 1 

4. Diadumenus. First then consider this, whether, ac- 
cording to the common conceptions, they can be said to 


agree with Nature, who think all natural things indifferent, 
and esteem neither health, vigorousness of body, beauty, 
no]' strength as desirable, commodious, profitable, or any 
way contributary to the completing of natural perfection ; 
nor believe that their contraries, as maims, pains, disgraces, 
and diseases, are hurtful or to be shunned ? To the latter 
of these they themselves say that Nature gives us an ab- 
horrence, and an inclination to the former. Which very 
thing is not a little repugnant to common understanding, 
that Nature should incline us to such things as are neither 
good nor available, and avert us from such as are neither 
ill nor hurtful, and which is more, that she should render 
this inclination and this aversion so violent, that they who 
either possess not the one or fall into the other detest their 
life with good reason, and withdraw themselves out of it. 

5. I think also that this is said by them against common 
sense, that Nature herself is indifferent, and yet that it is 
good to agree with Nature. For it is not our duty either to 
follow the law or be persuaded by argument, unless the 
law and argument be good and honest. And this indeed 
is the least of their errors. But if, as Chrysippus has 
written in his First Book concerning Exhortation, a happy 
life consists only in living according to virtue, other things 
(as he says) being nothing to us, nor co-operating any ways 
towards it, Nature is not only indifferent, but foolish also 
and stupid, in inclining us to such things as belong nothing 
to us ; and we also are fools in thinking felicity to be an 
agreeing with Nature, which draws us after such things as 
contribute nothing to happiness. For what can be more 
agreeable to common sense, than that, as desirable things 
are rei^uisite to live commodiously, so natural things are 
necessary that we may live according to Nature ? Now 
these men say not so ; but having settled the living accord- 
ing to. Nature for their end, do nevertheless hold those 
things which are according to Nature to be indifferent. 


6. Nor is this less repugnant to common sense, tliat an 
intelligent and prudent man should not be equally affected 
to equal good things, but should put no value on some, 
and be ready to undergo and suffer any thing for others, 
though the things themselves are neither greater nor less 
one than another. For they say, It is the same thing to 
abstain from the enjoyment of an old woman that has one 
foot in the grave, and . . . since in both cases we do what 
duty requires. And yet for this, as a great and glorious 
thing, they should be ready to die ; when as to boast of the 
other would be shameful and ridiculous. And even Chry- 
sippus himself in his commentary concerning Jupiter, and 
in the Third Book of the Gods, says, that it were a poor, 
absurd, and impertinent thing to glory in such acts, as pro- 
ceeding from virtue, as bearing valiantly the stinging of a 
wasp, or abstaining chastely from an old woman that lies 
a dying. Do not they then philosophize against the com- 
mon conception, who profess nothing to be more commend-  
able than those things which yet themselves are ashamed 
to praise ? For how can that be desirable or to be ap- 
proved, which is worthy neither of praise nor admiration, 
but the praisers and admirers of which they esteem absurd 
and ridiculous ? 

7. And yet this will (I suppose) appear to you more 
against common sense, that a wise man should take no 
care whether he enjoys or not enjoys the greatest good 
things, but should carry himself after the same manner in M 
these things, as in those that are indifferent and in their 
management and administration. For all of us, " whoever 
we are that eat the fruit of the spacious earth," judge that 
desirable, good, and profitable, which being present we 
use, and absent we want and desire. But that which no 
man thinks worth his concern, either for his profit or de- 
light, is indifferent. For we by no other means distinguish a 
laborious man from a trifler, who is for the most part also 




employed in action, but that the one busies himself in use- 
less matters and indifferently, and the other in things com- 
modious and profitable. But these men act quite contrary ; 
for with them, a wise and prudent man, being conversant 
in many comprehensions and memories of comprehension, 
esteems few of them to belong to him ; and not caring 
for the rest, he thinks he has neither more or less by re- 
membering that he lately had the comprehension of Dion 
sneezing or Theon playing at ball. And yet every com- 
prehension in a wise man, and every memory having as- 
surance and firmness, is a great, yea, a very great good. 
When therefore his health fails, when some organ of his 
senses is disordered, or when his wealth is lost, is a wise 
man so careless as to think that none of these things con- 
cern him ] Or does he, " when sick, give fees to the phy- 
sicians : for the gaining of riches sail to Leucon, governor 
in the Bosphorus, or travel to Idanthyrsus, king of the 
Scythians," as Chrysippus says'? And being deprived of 
some of his senses, does he not grow weary even of life ] 
How then do they not acknowledge that they philosophize 
against the common notions, employing so much care and 
diligence on things indifferent, and recking not whether 
they have or have not great good things ] 

8. But this is also yet against the common conceptions, 
that he who is a man should not rejoice when coming from 
the greatest evils to the greatest goods. Now their wise 
men suffer this. Being changed from extreme viciousness 
to the highest virtue, and at the same time escaping a 
most miserable life and attaining to a most happy one, he 
shows no sign of joy, nor does this so great change lift 
him up or yet move him, being delivered from all infe- 
licity and vice, and coming to a certain sure and firm per- 
fection of virtue. This also is repugnant to common sense, 
to maintain that the being immutable in one's judgments 
and resolutions is the greatest of goods, and yet that he 




who has attained to the height wants not this, nor cares 
for it when he has it, nay, many times will not so much as 
stretch forth a finger for this security and constancy, which 
nevertheless themselves esteem the sovereign and perfect! 
good. Nor do the Stoics say only these things, but theyl 
add also this to them, — that the continuance of time in- 
creases not any good thing ; but if a man shall be wise but 
a minute of an hour, he will not be any way inferior in 
happiness to him who has all his time practised virtue and 
led his life happily in it. Yet, whilst they thus boldly 
affirm these things, they on the contrary also say, that a 
short-lived virtue is nothing worth ; " For what advantage 
would the attainment of wisdom be to him who is immedi- 
ately to be swallowed up by the waves or tumbled dowu! 
headlong from a precipice 1 What would it have bene- 
fited Lichas, if being thrown by Hercules, as from a sling 
into the sea, he had been on a sudden changed from vicel 
to virtue 1 " These therefore are the positions of men 
who not only philosophize against the common concep- 
tions but also confound their own, if the having been but 
a little while endued with virtue is no way short of the 
highest felicity, and at the same time nothing worth. 

9. Nor is this the strangest thing you will find in their 
doctrine ; but their being of opinion that virtue and hap- 
piness, when present, are frequently not perceived by him 
who enjoys them, nor does he discern that, having but a 
little before been most miserable and foolish, he is of a 
sudden become wise and happy. For it is not only child- 
ish to say that he who is possessed of wisdom is ignorant 
of this thing alone, that he is wise, and knows not that 
he is delivered from folly ; but, to speak in general, they 
make goodness to have very little weight or strength, if it 
does not give so much as a feeling of it when it is present. 
For according even to them, it is not by nature imper- ^ 
ceptible ; nay, even Chrysippus in his books of the End 




expressly says tliat good is sensible, and demonstrates it 
also, as he thinks. It remains then, that by its weakness 
and littleness it flies the sense, when being present it is un- 
known and concealed from the possessors. It were more- 
over absurd to imagine that the sight, perceiving those 
things which are but a little whitish or inclining to white, 
should not discern such as are w^hite in perfection ; or that 
the touch, feeling those things which are but warm or 
moderately hot, should be insensible of those that are hot 
in the highest degree. And yet more absurd it is, that a 
man who perceives what is commonly according to Nature 
— as are health and good constitution of body — should 
yet be ignorant of virtue when it is present, which them- 
selves hold to be most of all and in the highest degree 
according to Nature. For how can it but be against sense, 
to conceive the difference between health and sickness, and 
yet so little to comprehend that between wisdom and folly 
as to think the one to be present when it is gone, and 
possessing the other to be ignorant that one has it? Now 
because there is from the highest progress a change made 
to felicity and virtue, one of these two things must of 
necessity follow ; either that this progress is not vice and 
infelicity, or that virtue is not far distant from vice, nor 
happiness from misery, but that the difference between 
good and evil is very small and not to be perceived by 
sense ; for otherwise they who have the one for the other 
could not be ignorant of it. 

10. Since then they will not depart from any of these 
contrarieties, but confess and hold them all, — that those 
who are proceeding towards virtue are fools and vicious, 
that those who are become good and wise perceive not this 
change in themselves, and that there is a great difference 
between folly and wisdom, — they must surely seem to you 
wonderfully to preserve an agreement in their doctrines, 
and yet more so in their actions, when affirming all men 


who are not wise to be equally wicked, unjust, faithless, 
and fools, they on the other side abhor and detest some of 
them, — nay, sometimes to such a degree that they refuse 
even to speak to them when they meet them, — while 
others of them they trust with their money, choose t( 
offices, and take for husbands to their daughters. Now il 
they say these things in jest, let them smooth their brows ? 
but if in earnest and as philosophers, it is against the com- 
mon notions to reprove and blame all men alike in wordJ j 
and yet to deal with some of them as moderate persons 
and with others as very wicked ; and exceedingly to ad- 
mire Chrysippus, to deride Alexinus, and yet to think 
neither of them more or less mad than the other. " 'Tis 
so," say they ; " but as he who is not above a cubit under 
the superficies of the sea is no less drowned than he who is 
five hundred fathom deep, so they that are coming toward^ 
virtue are no less in vice than those that are farthe^' 
ofi". And as blind men are still blind, though they shall 
perhaps a little after recover their sight ; so these that 
have proceeded towards virtue, till such time as they have 
attained to it, continue foolish and wicked." But that they 
who are in the way towards virtue resemble not the bbncMI 
but such as see less clearly, nor are like to those who are 
drowned, but — those which swim, and that near the harbor, 
— they themselves testify by their actions. For they would 
not use counsellors and generals and lawgivers as blind 
guides, nor would they imitate the works and actions and 
words and lives of some, if they saw them all equally 
drowned in folly and wickedness. But leaving this, won- 
der at the men in this behalf, that they are not taught by 
their own examples to give up the doctrine that these men 
are wise being ignorant of it themselves, and neither know- 
ing nor being sensible that they are recovered from being 
drowned and see the light, and that being gotten above 
vice, they fetch breath again. 


11. This also is against common sense, that it should be 
convenient for a man who has all good things, and wants 
nothing requisite to felicity and happiness, to make away 
himself; and much more this, that for him who neither 
has nor ever shall have any good thing, but who is and 
ever shall be accompanied with all adversities, difficulties, 
and mishaps, it should not be fitting to quit this life unless 
some of the indifferent things befall him. These laws are 
enacted in the Stoa ; and by these they incite many wise 
men to kill themselves, as if they would be thereby more 
happy ; and they restrain many foolish men, as if it were 
fitting for them to live on in wretchedness. Although the 
wise man is fortunate, blessed, every way happy, secure, 
and free from danger ; but the vicious and foolish man is 
*' full, as I may say, of evils, so that there is not room to 
put them in ; " and yet they think that continuing in life 
is fit for the latter, and departing out of it for the former* 
And not without cause, says Chrysippus, for we are not to 
measure life by good things or evil, but by those that are 
according to Nature. In this manner do they maintain 
custom, and philosophize according to the common con- 
ceptions. What do you say] — that he who enters upon 
a deliberation of life and death has no right to consider 

What good or ill in his own house there is ; 

or to weigh, as in a balance, what things have the greatest 
sign of serving to felicity or infelicity ; but must argue 
whether he should live or die from those things which are 
neither profitable nor prejudicial, and follow such prin- 
ciples and sentences as command the choosing of a life 
full of all things to be avoided, and the shunning of one 
which wants nothing of all those things that are desirable '? 
For though it is an absurd thing, friend Lamprias, to shun 
a life in which there is no evil, it is yet more absurd, if 
any one should leave what is good because he is not pos- 


sessed of what is indifferent, as these men do who leav^ 
present felicity and virtue for want of riches and healtl 
which they have not. 

Saturnian Jove from Glaucus took his wits, 

when he went about to change his suit of golden armo: 
for a brazen one, and to give what was worth a hundred 
oxen for that which was worth but nine. And yet th( 
brazen armor was no less useful for fight than the golden 
whereas beauty and health of body, as the Stoics say, con 
tribute not the least advantage as regards happiness. Anc 
yet they seek health in exchange for wisdom. For the 
say, it w^ould well enough have become Heraclitus an< 
Pherecydes to have parted with their virtue and wisdom 
if the one of them could have thereby been freed from hij 
lousy disease, and the other from his dropsy ; and if Circ< 
had used two sorts of magical drinks, one to make wis< 
men fools, and the other to make fools wise, Ulysses woulc 
rather have drunk that of folly, than have changed hi 
shape for tjie form of a beast, though having with it wis 
dom, and consequently also happiness. And, they say 
wisdom itself dictates to them these things, exhorting then 
thus : Let me go, and value not my being lost, if I mus 
be carried about in the shape of an ass. But this, some 
will say, is an ass-like wisdom which teacheth thus ; if 
indeed to be wise and enjoy felicity is good, and to weai 
the shape of an ass is indifferent. They say, there is 
nation of the Ethiopians where a dog reigns, is called king, 
and has all regal honors and services done to him ; but 
men execute the offices of magistrates and governors of 
cities. Do not the Stoics act in the very same manner? 
Tliey give the name and appisarance of good to virtue, 
saying that it alone is desirable, profitable, and available ; 
but in the mean time they act these things, they philoso- 
phize, they live and die, as at the command of things indif- 


ferent. And yet none of the Ethiopians kill that dog ; 
but he sits in state, and is revered by all. But these men 
destroy and corrupt their virtue, that they may obtain 
health and riches. 

12. But the corollary which Chrysippus himself has 
given for a conclusion to his doctrines seems to free us 
from the trouble of saying any thing more about it. For 
there being, says he, in Nature some things good, some 
things bad, and some things between them both, which we 
call indifferent ; there is no man but would rather have 
the good than the indifferent, and the indifferent than the 
bad. And of this we call the Gods to witness, begging of 
them by our prayers principally the possession of good 
things, and if that may not be, deliverance from evil ; not 
desiring that which is neither good nor bad instead of 
good, but willing to have it instead of evil. But this man, 
changing Nature and inverting its order, removes the 
middle out of its own place into the last, and brings back 
the last into the middle, — not unlike to those tyrants who 
give the first place to the wicked, — and he gives us a law, 
first to seek the good, and secondly the evil, and lastly to 
judge that worst which is neither good nor evil ; as if any 
one should place infernal things next to celestial, thrusting 
the earth and earthly things into Tartarus, 

Where very far from hence, deep under ground, 
Lies a vast gulf.* 

Having therefore said in his Third Book of Nature, 
that it is more expedient for a fool to live than not, though 
he should never attain to wisdom, he adds these words : 
" For such are the good things of men, that even evil 
things do in a manner precede other things that are in 
the middle place ; not that these things themselves 
really precede, but reason, with which we should choose 
rather to live, though we were to be fools." Therefore also, 

 U. VIII. 14. 




though we were to be unjust, wicked, hated of the Gods^j 
and unhappy ; for none of these things are absent from those 
that live foolishly. Is it then convenient rather to live miser- 
ably than not to live miserably, and better to be hurt than, 
not hurt, to be unjust than not unjust, to break the laws| 
than not to break them ? That is, is it convenient to do 
things that are not convenient, and a duty to live even 
against duty ] Yes indeed, for it is worse to want senses 
and reason than to be a fool. What then ails them, tha 
they will not confess that to be evil which is worse tha: 
evil ? Why do they say that folly alone is to be avoided, if 
it is not less but rather more convenient to shun that dispo j 
sition which is not capable of folly 1 

13. But who can complain of this, that shall remembeij 
what he has written in his Second Book of Nature, de 
daring that vice was not unprofitably made for the uni 
verse ? But it is meet I should set down his doctrine in hi^ 
own words, that you may understand in what place thosQ 
rank vice, and what discourses they hold of it, who accuse^ 
Xenocrates and Speusippus for not reckoning health in- 
different and riches useless. " Vice," saith he, " has it^ 
limit in reference to other accidents. For it is also in 
some sort according to the reason of Nature, and (as I may 
so say) is not wholly useless in respect of the universe ; 
for otherwise there would not be any good." Is there then 
no good among the Gods, because there is no evil ? And 
when Jupiter, having resolved all matter into himself, shall 11 
be alone, other differences being taken away, will there 
then be no good, because there will be no evil ? But is 
there melody in a choir though none in it sings faultily, 
and health in the body though no member is sick : and 
yet cannot virtue have its existence without vice ? But as 
the poison of a serpent or the gall of an hyena is to be 
mixed with some medicines, was it also of necessity that 
there must have been some conjunction of the wickedness 


of Meletus with the justice of Socrates, and the dissolute 
demeanor of Cleon with the probity of Pericles ? And 
could not Jupiter have found a means to bring into the 
world Hercules and Lycurgus, if he had not also made for 
us Sardanapalus and Phalaris ? It is now time for them to 
say that the consumption was made for the sound consti- 
tution of men's bodies, and the gout for the swiftness of 
their feet ; and that Achilles would not have had a good 
head of hair if Thersites had not been bald. For what 
difference is there between such triflers and ravers, and 
those who say that intemperance was not brought forth 
unprofitably for continence, nor injustice for justice, so 
that we must pray to the Gods, there may be always 

Lies, fawning speeches, and deceitful manners,* 

if, when these are taken away, virtue will also vanish and 
be lost? 

14. Or do you desire to understand the greatest sweet- 
ness of his eloquence and persuasion ? " For," says he, " as 
comedies have in them sometimes ridiculous epigrams, 
which, though bad in themselves, give nevertheless a cer- 
tain grace to the whole poem ; so, though you may blame 
vice in itself, yet is it not useless to other things." First 
then to say that vice was made by the providence of God, 
as a wanton epigram by the will of the poet, transcends in 
absurdity all imagination. For this being granted, how 
will the Gods be rather givers of good than evil ? How 
will wickedness be displeasing to them, and hated by 
them 1 And what shall we have to oppose against these 
ill-sounding sentences of the poets : 

A cause to men God sends. 

When to chastise some house his wrath intends *, t 

* Hesiod, Works and Days, 78. 
t From the Niobe of Aeschylus, Frag. 151 
VOL. IV. 26 


and again, 

What God those seeds of strife 'twixt them did sow ? * 

Moreover, a lewd epigram adorns the comedy and con 
tributes to its end, which is to delight the spectators and 
make them laugh. But Jupiter, who is surnamed fatherly, 
supreme, just, and (as Pindar has it) the most perfect artist, 
framing the world, not as a great interlude, full of variety 
and great learning, but as a common city of Gods andj 
men, living together in concord and happiness with justice! 
and virtue, — what need had he, for the attaining to this 
excellent end, of thieves, murderers, parricides, and ty- 
rants 1 For vice entered not as a morris-dance, pleasing 
and delightful to the Divinity; nor was injustice brought.- 
in amongst the affairs of men, to cause mirth and laughterf 
by its raillery and facetiousness, since there is not to be 
seen in it so much as a dream of that celebrated agreement 
with Nature. Besides, that foolish epigram is a very small 
part of the poem, and takes up but a very little place in 
the comedy ; neither do such things abound in it, nor do 
they corrupt any of those things which seem to have been 
well done, or spoil their grace. But all human affairs are 
replete with vice, and the whole life, from the very prologue 
and beginning to the end, being disordered, depraved, and 
disturbed, and having no part of it pure or irreprehensible 
(as these men say), is the most filthy and most unpleasant 
of all farces. 

15. Wherefore I would willingly ask, in what vice is 
profitable to the universe. Not surely in respect of heavenly 
things, and such as are divine by nature. For it would 
be ridiculous to say, that if there had not arisen, or were 
not amongst men, maUce and covetousness and lying, or 
that if we did not rob, plunder, slander, and murder one 
another, the sun would not run his appointed course, the 
world enjoy its seasons and periods of time, or the earth, 

* n. 1. 8. 



which is seated in the midst of the universe, afford the 
principles of the wind and rain. It remains then, that the 
existence of vice must be profitable for us and our affairs ; 
and that perhaps these men mean. Are we more healthy 
for being vicious, or do we more abound with necessaries ] 
Or does vice contribute any thing to our beauty and 
strength ? They say, no. But where on earth is virtue to 
be found ? Is it then only a name, and a visionary opinion 
of night- walking sophisters, and not a reality lying con- 
spicuous to all, like vice, so that we cannot partake of any 
thing as unprofitable,* . . . but least, O ye Gods ! of virtue, 
for which we were created ? Is it not then absurd, that 
the utensils of the husbandman, mariner, and charioteer 
should be serviceable and aiding towards his intended end, 
whilst that which was by God made for virtue destroys and 
corrupts virtue ? But perhaps it is time now to leave this 
point, and pass to another. 

16. Lamprias. Not for my sake, my dear friend, I be- 
seech you ; for I desire to understand, in what manner 
these men bring in evil things before the good, and vice 
before virtue. 

DiADUMENAS. It is indeed, sir, a thing worth knowing. 
They babble indeed much ; but in conclusion they say that 
prudence, being the knowledge of good and evil, would 
be wholly taken away if there were no evil. For as, if 
there are truths, it is impossible but there must be some 
lies also near to them ; so it stands with reason, that if 
there are good things, there must also be evil things. 

Lamprias. One of these things is not said amiss ; and 
1 think also that the other is not unapprehended by me. 
For I see a difference here : that which is not true must 
immediately be false ; but that is not of necessity evil 
which is not good ; because that between true and false 
there is no medium, but between good and evil there is the 

• The text of this passage seems to be hopelessly corrupt. (G.) 

388 or COMMON conceptions, 

indifferent. Nor is it of necessity that the one must sub- 
sist with the other. For Nature may have good without 
having any need of evil, but only having that which is 
neither good nor evil. But if there is any thing to be said 
by you to the former reason, let us hear it. 

17. Di^DUMENUS. Many things indeed are said; but at 
present we shall make use only of what is most necessary. 
In the first place, it is a folly to imagine that good and evil 
have their existence for the sake of prudence. For good 
and evil being already extant, prudence came afterwards ; 
as the art of physic was invented, there being already 
things wholesome and unwholesome. For good and evil 
are not therefore extant that there may be prudence ; but 
the faculty by which we judge good and evil that are 
already in being is named prudence. As sight is a sense 
distinguishing white from black ; which colors were not 
therefore made that we might have sight, but we rather 
wanted sight to discern these things. Secondly, when the 
world shall be set on fire (as the Stoics will have it), 
there will then no evil be left, but all will then be prudent 
and wise. There is therefore prudence, though there is 
no evil ; nor is it of necessity for evil to exist that prudence 
may have a being. But supposing that prudence must 
always be a knowledge of good and evil, what inconven- 
ience would it be if, evil being taken away, prudence 
should no longer subsist ; but instead of this we should 
have another virtue, not being the knowledge of good and ^ 
evil, but of good only? So, if black should be wholly 
lost from among the colors, and any one should therefore 
contend that sight is also lost, for that there is no longer 
the sense of discerning black and white, what should hin- 
der us from answering him : It is no prejudice to us, if we ■I 
have not what you call sight, but in Heu of that have 
another sense and faculty, by which we apprehend colors 
that are white and not white. For I indeed think that 



neither our taste would be lost, if bitter things were want- 
ing, nor our feeling, if paiu'were taken away, nor prudence, 
if evil had no being ; but that these senses would remain, 
to apprehend things sweet and grateful and those that are 
not so, and prudence to be the science of things good and 
not good. But let those who think otherwise take the 
name to themselves, leaving us the thing. 

18. Besides all this, what should hinder but there may 
be an understanding of evil, and an existence of good? 
As the Gods, I believe, enjoy health, but understand the 
fever and pleurisy. Since even we, who, as they say, have 
abundance of evils but no good, are not yet destitute of 
the knowledge what prudence, what goodness, and what 
happiness is. And this also would be wonderful, that if 
virtue were absent, there should be those who could teach 
us what it is and give us a comprehension of it, while if 
vice were not extant, it should be impossible to have any 
understanding of it. For see what these men persuade us 
who philosophize against the conceptions, — that by folly 
indeed we comprehend prudence, but prudence without 
folly cannot so much as comprehend folly itself. 

19. And if Nature had absolutely stood in need of the 
generation of evil, yet might one or two examples of vice 
have been sufficient; or if you will, it might have been 
requisite that ten, a thousand, or ten thousand vicious men 
should be brought forth, and not that the multitude of 
vices should be so great as " to exceed in number the 
sands of the sea, the dust of the earth, and the feathers 
of all the various kinds of birds in the world," and yet 
that there should not be so much all this while as a dream 
of virtue. Those who in Sparta had the charge of the 
public halls or eating places called Phiditia, were wont to 
bring forth two or three Helots drunken and full of wine, 
that the young men, seeing what drunkenness was, might 
learn to keep sobriety. But in human life there are many 



such examples of vice. For there is not any one sober to 
virtue ; but we all stagger up and down, acting shamefully 
and living miserably. Thus does reason inebriate us, and 
with so much trouble and madness does it fill us, that we 
fall in nothing short of those dogs of whom Aesop says, 
that seeing certain skins swimming on the water, they en- 
deavored to drink the sea up, but burst before they could 
get at them. For reason also, by which we hope to gain 
reputation and attain to virtue, does, ere we can reach to 
it, corrupt and destroy us, being before filled with abun- 
dance of heady and bitter vice ; — if indeed, as these men 
say, they who are got even to the uppermost step have no 
ease, cessation, or breathing from folly and infelicity. 

20. But let us see what manner of thing he shows vice 
to be who says that it was not brouglit forth un profitably, 
and of what use and what a possession he makes it to be 
to those who have it, writing in his book of right actions, 
that a wicked man wants nothing, has need of nothing, 
nothing is useful to him, nothing proper, nothing fit for 
him. How then is vice useful, with which neither health; 
nor abundance of riches nor advancement in virtue is 
profitable? Who then does not want these things, of 
which some are " preferable " and " acceptable," and 
therefore highly useful, and others are " according to 
Nature," as themselves term them ? But (they say) no one 
has need of them, unless he become wise. Therefore the 
vicious man does not even stand in need of being made 
wise. Nor are men hungry and thirsty before they become 1 
wise. When thirsty, therefore, they have no need of 
water, nor when hungry, of bread. 

Be like to courteous guests, and him 
Who only fire and shelter asks : 

does this man now not need entertainment? Nor had he 
need of a cloak, who said. 

Give Hipponax a cloak, for I'm stiff with cold. 


But will you speak a paradox indeed, both extravagant 
and singular"? Say then that a wise man has need of 
nothing, that he wants nothing, he is fortunate, he is free 
from want, he is self-sufficient, blessed, perfect. Now 
what madness is this, that he to whom nothing is wanting 
has need of the goods he has, but that the vicious indeed 
wants many things, and stands in need of nothing. For 
thus indeed says Chrysippus, that the vicious wants but 
stands not in need ; removing the common notions, like 
chessmen, backwards and forwards. For all men think 
that having need precedes wanting, esteeming him who 
stands in need of things that are not at hand or easy to 
be got, to want them. For no man wants horns or wings, 
because no man has need of them. But we say that those 
want arms and money and clothes who are destitute of 
them, when they have occasion for them. But these men 
are so desirous of seeming always to say something against 
the common notions, that for the love of novelty they often 
depart from their own opinions, as they do here. 

21. But recall yourself to the consideration of what has 
been said a little above. This is one of their assertions 
against the common conception, that no vicious man re- 
ceives any utility. And yet many being instructed profit ; 
many being slaves are made free ; many being besieged 
are delivered, being lame are led by the hand, and being 
sick are cured. " But possessing all these things, they are 
never the better, neither do receive benefits, nor have they 
any benefactors, nor do they slight their benefactors." 
Vicious men then are not ungrateful, no more than are 
wise men. Ingratitude therefore has no being ; because 
the good receiving a benefit fail not to acknowledge it, and 
the bad are not capable of receiving any. Behold now. 
what they say to this, — that benefit is ranked among mean 
or middle things, and that to give and receive utility be- 
longs only to the wise, but the bad also receive a benefit. 


Then they who partake of the benefit partake not also of 
its use ; and whither a benefit extends, there is nothing 
useful or commodious. Now what else is there that makes 
a kind ofiice a benefit, but that the bestower of it is, in ; 
some respect, useful to the needy receiver ? | 

22. Lamprias. But let these things pass. What, I be- ' 
seech you, is this so highly venerated utility, which pre- 
serving as some great and excellent thing for the wise, 
they permit not so much as the name of it to the vicious ] | 

DiADUMENUS. If (say they) one wise man does but any 
way prudently stretch out his finger, all the wise men all 
the world over receive utility by it. This is the work of 
their amity ; in this do the virtues of the wise man termi- 
nate by their common utilities. Aristotle then and Xeno- 
crates doted, saying that men receive utility from the 
Gods, from their parents, from their masters, being igno- 
rant of that wonderful utility which wise men receive 
from one another, being moved according to virtue, though 
they neither are together nor yet know it. Yet all men 
esteem, that laying up, keeping, and bestowing are then 
useful and profitable, when some benefit or profit is re- 
covered by it. The thriving man buys keys, and diligently 
keeps his stores, 

With's hand unlocking wealth's sweet treasury.* 

But to store up and to keep with diligence and laboi 
such things as are for no use is not seemly or honorable, 
but ridiculous. If Ulysses indeed had tied up with the 
knot which Circe taught him, not the gifts he had received 
from xllcinous, — tripods, caldrons, cloths, and gold, — but 
heaping up trash, stones, and such like trumpery, should 
have thought his employment about such things, and the 
possession and keeping of them, a happy and blessed 
work, would any one have imitated this foolish providence 

* From the Bellerophontes of Euripides, Frag. 287, vs. 8. 


and empty care ] Yet this is the beauty, gravity, and hap- 
piness of the Stoical consent, being nothing else but a 
gathering together and keeping of useless and indifferent 
things. For such are things according to Nature, and still 
more exterior things ; if indeed they compare the greatest 
riches to fringes and golden chamber-pots, and sometimes 
also, as it happens, to oil-cruets. Then, as those who seem 
proudly to have affronted and railed at some Gods or 
demi-gods presently changing their note, fall prostrate 
and sit humbly on the ground, praising and magnifying the 
Divinity ; so these men, having met with punishment of this 
arrogancy and vanity, again exercise themselves in these 
indifferent things and such as pertain nothing to them, cry- 
ing out with a loud voice that there is but one thing good, 
specious, and honorable;, the storing up of these things 
and the communication of them, and that it is not meet 
for those to live who have them not, but to dispatch out 
of the way and famish themselves, bidding a long farewell 
to virtue. 

They esteem indeed Theognis to have been a man alto 
gether of a base and abject spirit, for saying, as one over- 
fearful in regard to poverty, which is an indifferent thing : 

From poverty to fly, into the deep 

Throw thyself, Cyrnus, or from rocks so steep. 

Yet they themselves exhort the same thing in prose, and 
affirm that a man, to free himself from some great disease 
or exceedingly acute pain, if he have not at hand sword or 
hemlock, ought to leap into the sea or throw himself head- 
long from a precipice ; neither of which is hurtful, or 
evil, or incommodious, or makes them who fall into it mis- 

23. With what then, says he, shall I begin 1 And what 
shall I take for the principle of duty and matter of virtue, 
leaving Nature and that which is according to Nature 1 
With what, O good sir, do Aristotle and Theophrastus be- 


gin ? What beginnings do Xenocrates and Polemo take ? 
Does not also Zeno follow these, who suppose Nature and 
that which is according to Nature to be the elements of 
happiness ? But they indeed persisted in these things, as 
desirable, good, and profitable ; and joining to them vir- 
tue, which employs them and uses every one of them , 
according to its property, thought to complete and consum- 
mate a perfect life and one every way absolute, producing 
that concord which is truly suitable and consonant to Na- \ 
ture. For these men did not fall into confusion, like those 
who leap up from the ground and presently fall down 
again upon it, terming the same things acceptable and not 
desirable, proper and not good, unprofitable and yet use- 
ful, nothing to us and yet the principles of duties. But 
their life was such as their speech, and they exhibited ac- 
tions suitable and consonant to their sayings. But they 
who are of the Stoic sect — not unlike to that woman in 
Archilochus, who deceitfully carried in one hand water, in. 
the other fire — by some doctrines draAv nature to them, 
and by others drive her from them. Or rather, by their 
deeds and actions they embrace those things which are 
according to Nature, as good and desirable, but in words 
and speeches they reject and contemn them, as indifi"erent 
and of no use to virtue for the acquiring felicity. 

24. Now, forasmuch as all men esteem the sovereign 
good to be joyous, desirable, happy, of the greatest dig- 
nity, self-sufficient, and wanting nothing ; compare their 
good, and see how it agrees with this common conception. 
Does the stretching out a finger prudently produce this 
joy ? Is a prudent torture a thing desirable ? Is he hap- 
py, who with reason breaks his neck ? Is that of the 
greatest dignity, which reason often chooses to let go for 
that which is not good 1 Is that perfect and self-sufficient, 
by enjoying which, if they have not also indifferent things, 
they neither can nor will endure to live 1 There is also 


another principle of the Stoics, by which custom is still 
more injured, taking and plucking from her genuine no- 
tions, which are as her legitimate children, and supposing 
other bastardly, wild, and illegitimate ones in their room, 
and necessitating her to nourish and cherish the one in- 
stead of the other ; and that too in those doctrines which 
concern things good and bad, desirable and avoidable, 
proper and strange, the energy of which ought to be more 
clearly distinguished than that of hot and cold, black and 
white. For the imaginations of these things are brought 
in by the senses from without ; but those have their orig- 
inal bred from the good things which we have within us. 
But these men entering with their logic upon the topic of 
felicity, as on the sophism called Pseudomenos, or that 
named Kyrieuon, have removed no ambiguities, but brought 
in very many. 

25. Indeed, of two good things, of which the one is the 
end and the other belongs to the end, none is ignorant that 
the end is the greater and perfecter good. Chrysippus 
also acknowledges this difference, as is manifest from his 
Third Book of Good Things. For he dissents from those 
who make science the end, and sets it down. ... In his 
Treatise of Justice, however, he does not think that 
justice can be safe, if any one supposes pleasure to be 
the end ; but grants it may, if pleasure is not said to be the 
end, but simply a good. Nor do I think that you need now 
to hear me repeat his words, since his Third Book of 
Justice is everywhere to be had. When therefore, O my 
friend, they elsewhere say that no one good is greater or 
less than another, and that what is not the end is equal to 
the end) they contradict not only the common conceptions, 
but even their own words. Again, if of two evils, the one 
when it is present renders us worse, and the other hurts us 
but renders us not worse, it is against common sdnsc not to 
say that the evil which by its presence renders us worse is 


greater than that which hurts us but renders us not worse. 
Now Chrysippus indeed confesses, that there are some fears 
and soiTows and errors which hurt us, but render us not 
worse. Kead his First Book of Justice against Plato ; for 
in respect of other things, it is worth the while to note the 
babbling of the man in that place, delivering indifferently 
all matters and doctrines, as well proper to his own sect as 

26. It is likewise against common sense when he says 
that there may be two ends or scopes proposed of life, and 
that all the things we do are not to be referred to one ; and 
yet this is more against common sense, to say that there is 
an end, and yet that every action is to be referred to an- 
other. Nevertheless they must of necessity endure one of 
these. For if those things which are first according to 
Nature are not eligible for themselves, but the choice and 
taking of them agreeably to reason is so, and if every one 
therefore does all his actions for the acquiring the first 
things according to Nature, it follows that all things which 
are done must have their reference to this, that the princi- 
pal things according to Nature may be obtained. But they 
think that they who aim and aspire to get these things do 
not have the things themselves for the end, but that to 
which they must refer, namely, the choice and not the 
things. For the end indeed is to choose and receive these 
things prudently. But the things themselves and the en- 
joying of them are not the end, but the material object, 
having its worth only from the choice. For it is my opinion 
that they both use and write this very expression, to show 
the difference. 

LiMPRiAs. You have exactly related both what they say 
and in what manner they deliver it. 

DiADUMENus. But obscrvc how it fares with them, as 
with tho^e that endeavor to leap over their own shadow ; 
for they do not leave behind, but always carry along with 


them in their speech some absurdity most remote from 
common sense. For as, if any one should say that he who 
shoots does all he can, not that he may hit the mark, but 
that he may do all he can, such a one would rightly be 
esteemed to speak enigmatically and prodigiously ; so these 
doting dreamers, who contend that the obtaining of natu- 
ral things is not the end of aiming after natural things, but 
the taking and choosing them is, and that the desire and 
endeavor after health is not in every one terminated in the 
enjoyment of health, but on the contrary, the enjoyment of 
health is referred to the desire and endeavor after it, and 
that certain walkings and contentions of speech and suffer- 
ing incisions and taking of medicines, so they are done by 
reason, are the end of health, and not health of them, — 
they, I say, trifle like to those who say. Let us sup, that we 
may sacrifice, that we may bathe. But this rather changes 
order and custom, and all things which these men say carry 
with them the total subversion and confusion of affairs. 
Thus, we do not desire to take a walk in fit time that we 
may digest our meat ; but we digest our meat that we may 
take a walk in fit time. Has Nature also made health for 
the sake of hellebore, instead of producing hellebore for 
the sake of health ? For what is wanting to bring them 
to the highest degree of speaking paradoxes, but the say- 
ing of such things? What difference is there between 
him who says that health was made for the sake of medi- 
cines and not medicines for the sake of health, and him 
who makes the choice of medicines and their composition 
and use more desirable than health itself? — or rather who 
esteems health not at all desirable, but placing the end in 
the negotiation about these things, prefers desire to enjoy- 
ment, and not enjoyment to desire? For to desire, forsooth 
(they say), is joined the proceeding wisely and discreetly. 
It is true indeed, we will say, if respect be had to the end, 
that is, the enjoyment and possession of the things it pur- 


sues ; but otherwise, it is wholly void of reason, if it does 
all things for the obtaining of that the enjoyment of which 
is neither honorable nor happy. 

27. Now, since we are fallen upon this discourse, any 
thing may rather be said to agree with common sense, than 
that those who have neither received nor have any concep- 
tion of good do nevertheless desire and pursue it. For 
you see how Chrysippus drives Ariston into this difficulty, 
that he should understand an indifference in things inclin- 
ing neither to good nor to bad, before either good or bad 
is itself understood ; for so indifference will appear to have 
subsisted even before itself, if the understanding of it can- 
not be perceived unless good be first understood, while the 
good is nothing else than this very indifference. Under- 
stand now and consider this indifference which the Stoa 
denies and calls consent, whence and in what manner it 
gives us the knowledge of good. For if without good the 
indifference to that which is not good cannot be understood, 
much less does the knowledge of good things give any in- 
telligence of itself to those who had not before some notion 
of the good. But as there can be no knowledge of the art 
of things wholesome and unwholesome in those who have 
not first some knowledge of the things themselves ; so they 
cannot conceive any notion of the science of good and evil 
who have not some fore-knowledge of good and evil. 

Lamprias. What then is good ? 

DiADUMENUs. Nothing but prudence. 

Lamprias. And what is prudence ? 
* DiADUMENUS. Nothing but the science of good. 

Lamprias. There is much then of " Jupiter's Corinth 
(that is, much reasoning in a circle) admitted into their 
arguments. For I would have you let alone the saying 
about the turning of the pestle, lest you should seem to 
mock them ; although an accident like to that has insinu- 
ated itself into their discourse. For it seems that, to the 


understanding of good, one has need to understand pru- 
dence, and to seek for prudence in the understanding of 
good, being forced always to pursue the one by the other, 
and thus faiUng of both ; since to the understanding of 
each we have need of that which cannot be known without 
the other be first understood. 

DiADUMENUs. But there is yet another way, by which 
you may perceive not only the perversion but the eversion 
of their discourse, and the reduction of it entirely to noth- 
ing. They hold the essence of good to be the reasonable 
election of things according to Nature. Now the election 
is not reasonable which is not directed to some end, as has 
been said before. What then is this end ? Nothing else, 
say they, but to reason rightly in the election of things ac- 
cording to Nature. First then, the conception of good is 
lost and gone. For to reason rightly in election is an 
operation proceeding from an habit of right reasoning ; 
and therefore being constrained to learn this from the end, 
and the end not without this, we fail of understanding 
either of them. Besides, which is more, this reasonable 
election ought in strict justice to be a choice of things 
good and useful, and co-operating to the end ; for how can 
it be reasonable to choose things which are neither con- 
venient nor honorable nor at all eligible ? For be it, as they 
say, a reasonable election of things having a fitness for the 
causing felicity ; see then to what a beautiful and grave 
conclusion their discourse brings them. For the end is (it 
seems), according to them, to reason rightly in the choice 
of things which are of worth in causing us to reason 

Lamprias. When I hear these words, my friend, what 
is said seems to me strangely extravagant ; and I farther 
want to know how this happens. 

DiADUMENUS. You must then be more attentive ; for it 
is not for every one to understand this riddle. Hear there- 


fore and answer. Is not the end, according to them, to 
reason rightly in the election of things according to Na- 
ture ? 

Lamprias. So they say. \ 

DiADUMENUs. And are these things according to Na- j 
ture chosen as good, or as having some fitness or prefer- j 
ences . . . either for this end or for something else ? 

Lamprias. I think not for any thing else but for this 
end. ' I 

DiADUMENUs. Now then, having discovered the matter, 1 
see what befalls them. They hold that the end is to 
reason rightly in the choice of things which are of worth 
in causing us to reason rightly, for they say that we neither 
have nor understand any other essence either of good or 
of felicity but this precious rectitude of reasoning in the 
election of things that are of worth. But there are some 
who think that this is spoken against Antipater, and not 
against the whole sect ; for that he, being pressed by Car- 
neades, fell into these fooleries. 

28. But as for those things that are against the common 
conceptions taught in the Stoa concerning love, they are 
all of them concerned in the absurdity. They say, that 
those youths are deformed who are vicious and foolish, 
and that the wise are fair; and yet that none of these 
beautiful ones is either beloved or worthy of being beloved. 
Nor yet is this the worst ; but they add, that those who ^ 
love the deformed ones cease to do so when they are be- 
come fair. Now whoever knew such a love as is kindled 
and has its being at the sight of the body's deformity 
joined with that of the soul, and is quenched and decays 
at the accession of beauty joined with prudence, justice, 
and temperance 1 These men are not unlike to those 
gnats which love to settle on the dregs of wine, or on 
vinegar, but shun and fly away from potable and pleasant 
wdne. As for that which they call and term an appear- 


ance of beauty, saying that it is the inducement of love, 
— first, it has no probability, for in those who are very 
foul and highly wicked there cannot be an appearance of 
beauty, if indeed (as is said) the wickedness of the dis- 
position fills the face with deformity. And secondly, it is 
absolutely against all common conceptions that the de- 
formed should be worthy of love because he one day will 
be fair and expects to have beauty, but that when he has 
obtained it and is become fair and good, he should be 
beloved of none. 

Lamprias. Love, they say, is a certain hunting after a 
young person who is as yet indeed imperfect, but naturally 
well-disposed towards virtue. 

DiADUMENus. And what do we now else, O my best 
friend, but demonstrate that their sect perverts and destroys 
all our common conceptions with improbable things and 
unusual expressions ? For none would hinder the solici- 
tude of these wise men towards young persons, if it were 
free from all passionate affection, from being called hunt- 
ing or love of instruction ; but they ought to call love that 
which all men and women understand and call by this 
name, like that which Penelope's suitors in Homer seem 
to acknowledge, 

Who all desired to lie with her ; * 

or as Jupiter in another place says to Juno, 

For neither Goddess yet nor mortal dame 
E'er kindled in my heart so great a flame.f 

29. Thus casting moral philosophy into these matters, 
in which all is 

A mazy whirl, with nothing sound, and all perplexed, J 

they contemn and deride all about them, as if themselves 
were the only men who regulated nature and custom as it 
ought to be, and who at the same time adapted reason to 

 Odyss. I. 366. t II. XIV. 315. J Eurip. Andromache, 448. 

VOL. IV. 26 



each man's peculiar state by means of aversions, desires, 
appetites, pursuits, and impulses. But custom has received 
no good from their logic, but, like the ear diseased by^ 
vain sounds, is filled with difficulty and obscurity, — of| 
which, if you think good, we will elsewhere begin fv 
new discourse. But now we will run through the chief 
and principal heads of their natural philosophy, which no 
less confounds the common conceptions than that other 
concerning ends. 

30. First, this is altogether absurd and against sense, to 
say that is which is not, and things which are not are. 
But above all, that is most absurd which they say of the 
universe. For, putting round about the circumference of 
the world an infinite vacuum, they say that the universe 
is neither a body nor bodiless. It follows then from this^i 
that the universe has no being, since with them body onlji 
has a being. Since therefore it is the part of that which 
has a being both to do and suffer, and the universe has no 
being, it follows that the universe will neither do not 
suffer. Neither will it be in a place ; for that which take^ 
up place is a body, and the universe is not a body, there-* 
fore the universe is nowhere. And since that only rests^ 
which continues in one and the same place, the universe 
rests not, because it takes not up place. Neither yet is it 
moved, for what is moved must have a place and space to 
move in. Moreover, what is moved either moves itself, or 
suffers motion from another. Now, that which is moved 
by itself has some bents and inclinations proceeding from 
its gravity or levity ; and gravity and levity are either 
certain habits or faculties or differences of bodies. But thell 
imiverse is not a body. It follows then of necessity, that the 
universe is neither heavy nor light, and consequently, that 
it has not in itself any principle of motion. Nor yet will 
the universe be moved by any other ; for there is nothing 
else besides the universe. Thus are they necessitated to 



say as they do, tliat the universe neither rests nor is moved. 
Lastly, since according to their opinion it must not be said 
that the universe is a body, and yet the heaven, the earth, 
animals, plants, men, and stones are bodies, it follows that 
that which is no body will have bodies for its parts, and 
things which have existence will be parts of that which 
has no existence, and that which is not heavy will have 
parts that are heavy, and what is not light will have parts 
that are light ; — than which there cannot be any dreams 
imagined more repugnant to the common conceptions. 

Moreover, there is nothing so evident or so agreeing to 
common sense as this, that what is not animate is inani- 
mate, and what is not inanimate is animate. And yet they 
overthrow also this evidence, confessing the universe to be 
neither animate nor inanimate. Besides this, none thinks 
the universe, of which there is no part wanting, to be im- 
perfect ; but they deny the universe to be perfect, saying 
that what is perfect may be defined, but the universe be- 
cause of its infiniteness cannot be defined. Therefore, 
according to them, there is something which is neither 
perfect nor imperfect. Moreover, the universe is neither a 
part, since there is nothing greater than it ; nor the whole, 
for the whole (they say) is predicated only of that which 
is digested into order ; but the universe is, through its 
infiniteness, undetermined and unordered. Moreover, there 
is no other thing which can be the cause of the universe, 
there being nothing besides the universe ; nor is the uni- 
verse the cause of other things or even of itself; for its 
nature suffers it not to act, and a cause is understood by 
its acting. Suppose now, one should ask all men what 
they imagine nothing to be, and what notion they have of 
it. Would they not answer, that it neither is a cause nor 
has a cause, that it is neither the whole nor a part, that it 
is neither perfect nor imperfect, that it is neither animate 
nor inanimate, that it neither is moved nor rests nor sub- 


sists, that it is neither corporeal nor incorporeal ; and tha 
this and no other thing is meant by nothing ? Since ther 
they alone predicate that of the universe which all others 
do of nothing^ it seems plain that they make the universe 
and nothing to be the same. Time must then be said to 
be nothing ; the same also must be said of predicate, 
axiom, connection, combination, which terms they use 
more than any of the other philosophers, yet they say 
that they have no being. But farther, to say that what is 
true has no being or subsistence but is comprehended, and 
that that is comprehensible and credible w^hicli no way 
partakes of the essence of being, — does not this exceed 
all absurdity] 

31. But lest these things should seem to have too much 
of logical difficulty, let us proceed to such as pertain more 
to natural philosophy. Since then, as themselves say, 

Jove is of all beginning, midst, and end,* 

they ought chiefly to have applied themselves to reme^ 
redress, and reduce to the best order the conceptions con- 
cerning the Gods, if there were in them any thing confused 
or erroneous ; or if not, to have left every one in those sen- 
timents which they had from the law^s and custom concern- 
ing the Divinity : 

For neither now nor yesterday 

These deep conceits of God began ; 
Time out of mind they have been aye, 

But no man knows where, how, or when.f 

But these men, having begun (as it were) "from Vesta" to 
disturb the opinions settled and received in every country 
concerning the Gods, have not (to speak sincerely) left 
any thing entire and uncorrupted. For what man is there 
or ever was, except these, who does not believe the Divinity 
to be immortal and eternal '? Or what in the common an- 

* See Orphic Fragments, VI. 10 (Herm.). t Soph. Antigone, 456. 


ticipations is more unanimously chanted forth concerning 
the Gods than such things as these : 

and again, 
and again, 

There the blest Gods eternally enjoy 
Their sweet delights ; * 

Both Gods immortal, and earth-dwelling men ; t 

Exempt from sickness and old age are they, 
And free from toil, and have escaped the flood 
Of roaring Acheron 1 J 

One may perhaps light upon some nations so barbarous 
and savage as not to think there is a God ; but there was 
never found any man who, believing 'a God, did not at the 
same time believe him immortal and eternal. Certainly, 
those who were called Atheists, like Theodorus, Diagoras, 
and Hippo, durst not say that the Divinity is corruptible, 
but they did not believe that there is any thing incorrupti- 
ble ; not indeed admitting the subsistence of an incorrupti- 
bility, but keeping the idea of a God. But Chrysippus 
and Cleanthes, having filled (as one may say) heaven, earth, 
air, and sea with Gods, have not yet made any one of all 
these Gods immortal or eternal, except Jupiter alone, in 
whom they consume all the rest ; so that it is no more 
proper for him to consume others than to be consumed 
himself. For it is alike an infirmity to perish by being 
resolved into another, and to be saved by being nourished 
by the resolution of others into himself. Now these are 
not like other of their absurdities, gathered by argument 
from their suppositions or drawn by consequence from their 
doctrines ; but they themselves proclaim it aloud in their 
writings concerning the Gods, Providence, Fate, and Na- 
ture, expressly saying that all the other Gods were born, 
and shall die by the fire, melting away, in their opinion, as 
if they were of wax or tin. It is indeed as much against 

» Odyss. VI. 46. t H. V. 442. t From Pindar. 


common sense that God should be mortal as that : 
should be immortal ; nay, indeed, I do not see what 
difference between God and man will be, if God also is a 
reasonable and corruptible animal. For if they oppose us 
with this subtle distinction, that man is mortal, and God not, 
mortal but corruptible, see what they get by it. For the 
wall say either that God is at the same time both immorta 
and corruptible, or else that he neither is 'mortal nor im 
mortal ; the absurdity of which even those cannot exceec 
who set themselves industriously to devise positions repug- 
nant to common sense. I speak of others ; for these met 
have left no one of the absurdest things unspoken or unat 

To these things Clean thes, contending for the conilagra* 
tion of the world, says, that the sun will make the moot 
and all the other stars like to himself, and will change" 
them into himself. Indeed, if the stars, being Gods 
should contribute any thing to the sun towards their own 
destruction by contributing to its conflagration, it would b 
very ridiculous for us to make prayers to them for our sal 
vation, and to think them the saviors of men, whose^ 
nature it is to accelerate their own corruption and disso 
lution. . 

32. And yet these men leave nothing unsaid againsi 
Epicurus, crying out, Fie, fie upon him, as confounding 
their presumption concerning God by taking away Provi- 
dence ; for God (they say) is presumed and understood to 
be not only immortal and happy, but also a lover of men 
and careful of them and beneficial to them ; and herein 
they say true. Now if they who abolish Providence take 
away the pre-conception concerning God, what do they 
Avho say that the Gods indeed have care of us, but deny 
them to be helpful to us, and make them not bestowers of 
good things but of indifferent ones, giving, to Avit, not 
virtue, but wealth, health, children, and such like things, 




none of which is helpful, profitable, desirable, or available 1 
Or shall we not rather think, that the Epicureans do not 
take away the conceptions concerning the Gods ; but that 
these Stoics scoff at the Gods and deride them, saying one 
is a God of fruits, another of marriage, another a physi- 
cian, and another a diviner, while yet health, issue, and 
plenty of fruits are not good things, but indifferent things 
and unprofitable to those who have them ? 

33. The third point of the conception concerning the 
Gods is, that the Gods do in nothing so much differ from 
men as in happiness and virtue. But according to Chry- 
sippus, they have not so much as this difference. For he 
says that Jupiter does not exceed Dion in virtue, but that 
Jupiter and Dion, being both wise, are equally aided by 
one another, when one falls into the motion of the other. 
For this and none else is the good which the Gods do to 
men, and likewise men to the Gods when they are wise. 
For they say, that a man who falls not short in virtue 
comes not behind them in felicity, and that he who, being 
tormented wdth diseases and being maimed in the body, 
makes himself away, is equally happy with Jupiter the 
Savior, provided he be but wise. But this man neither 
is nor ever was upon the earth ; but there are infinite mil- 
lions of men unhappy to the highest degree in the state 
and government of Jupiter, which is most excellently ad- 
ministered. Now what can be more against sense than 
that, when Jupiter governs exceedingly well, we should be 
exceedingly miserable ? But if (which it is unlawful even 
to say) he would wish no longer to be a savior, nor a deliv- 
erer, nor a protector, but the contrary to all these glorious 
appellations, there can no goodness be added to the things 
that are, either as to their multitude or magnitude, since, 
as these men say, all men live to the height miserably and 
wickedly, neither vice receiving addition, nor unhappiness 


34. Nor is this the worst ; but they are angry with Me 
nander for saying upon the stage. 

The chief beginning of men's raiseries 
Are things exceeding good ; 

for that this is against sense. And yet they make God, who 
is good, the beginning of evils. " For matter," they say, 
" produced not any evil of itself; for it is without quality, 
and whatever differences it has, it has received them all froni 
that which moves and forms it." But that which moves and 
forms it is the reason dwelling in it, since it is not made to 
move and form itself. So that of necessity evil, if it come by 
nothing, must have been produced from that which has no 
being ; but if by some moving principle, from God. But 
if they think that Jupiter has not the command of his 
parts nor uses every one of them according to his reason, 
they speak against common sense, and imagine an animal, 
many of whose parts are not subservient to his will but 
use their own operations and actions, to which the whole 
gives no incitation nor begins their motion. For there is 
nothing which has life so ill compacted as that, against its 
will, its feet shall go, its tongue speak, its horns push, or 
its teeth bite. The most of which things God must of 
necessity suffer, if the wicked, being parts of him, do 
against his will lie, cheat, rob, and murder one another. 
But if, as Chrysippus says, the very least part cannot pos- 
sibly behave itself otherwise than according to Jupiter's 
pleasure, and if every living thing is so framed by Nature 
as to rest and move according as he inclines it and as he 
turns, stays, and disposes it. 

This saying is more impious than the first.* 

For it were more tolerable to say that many parts of 
Jupiter are, through his weakness and want of power, 
hurried on to do many absurd things against his nature 

 See Nauck's Tragic Fragments, p. 704 (No. 345). 


and will, than that there is not any intemperance or wick- 
edness of which Jupiter is not the canse. Moreover, since 
they affirm the world to be a city and the stars citizens, if 
this be so, there must be also tribes-men and magis- 
trates, the sun must be some consul, and the evening star 
a praetor or mayor of a city. Now I know not whether 
any one that shall go about to confute such things will 
not show himself more absurd than those who assert and 
affirm them. 

35. Is it not therefore against sense to say that the seed 
is more and greater than that which is produced of it ? 
For we see that Nature in all animals and plants, even 
those that are wild, has taken small, slender, and scarce 
visible things for principles of generation to the greatest. 
For it does not only from a grain of wheat produce an ear- 
bearing stalk, or a vine from the stone of a grape ; but 
from a small berry or acorn which has escaped being eaten 
by the bird, kindling and setting generation on fire (as it 
were) from a little spark, it sends forth the stock of 
a bush, or the tall body of an oak, palm, or pine tree. 
Whence also they say that seed is in Greek called 
am-Qiia, as it were, the 6miQaaig or the coiling up of a great 
mass in a little compass ; and that Nature has the name 
of g)yW, as if it were the inflation (tjxcpvariaig) and diffusion 
of reason and numbers opened and loosened by it. But 
now, in opposition to this, they maintain that fire is the 
seed of the world, which shall after the conflagration 
change into seed the world, which will then have a co- 
pious nature from a smaller body and bulk, and possess 
an infinite space of vacuum filled by its increase ; and the 
world being made, the size again recedes and settles, the 
matter being after the generation gathered and contracted 
into itself. 

36. You may hear them and read many of their writings, 
in which they jangle with the Academics, and cry out 


against them as confounding all things with their doctrine 
of indistinguishable identity, and as vehemently contending 
that there is but one quality in two substances. And yet j 
there is no man who understands not this, and would not 
on the contrary think it wonderful and extremely strange 
if there should not in all time be found a dove exactly and 
in all respects like to another dove, a bee to a bee, a grain 
of wheat to a grain of wheat, or (as the proverb has it) 
one fig to another. But these things are plainly against ; 
common sense which the Stoics say and feign, — that there \ 
are in one substance two particular qualities, and that the 
same substance, which has particularly one quality, when 
another quality is added, receives and equally conserves 
them both. For if there may be two, there may be also 
three, four, and five, and even more than you can name, 
in one and the same substance ; I say not in its different 
parts, but all alike in the whole, though ever infinite in 
number. For Chrysippus says, that Jupiter and the world 
are like to man, as is also Providence to the soul ; when 
therefore the conflagration shall be, Jupiter, who alone of 
all the Gods is incorruptible, will retire into Providence, 
and they being together, will both perpetually remain in 
the one substance of the ether. 

37. But leaving now the Gods, and beseeching them to 
give these Stoics common sense and a common understand- 
ing, let us look into their doctrines concerning the ele- 
ments. It is against the common conceptions that one 
body should be the place of another, or that a body should 
penetrate through a body, neither of them containing any 
vacuity, but the full passing into the full, and that which 
has no vacuity — but is full and has no place by reason of 
its continuity — receiving the mixture. But these men, not 
thrusting one thing into one, nor yet two or three or ten 
together, but jumbling all the parts of the world, being 
cut piecemeal, into any one thing which they shall first 


light on, and saying that the very least which is perceived 
by sense will contain the greatest that shall come unto it, 
boldly frame a new doctrine, convicting themselves here, 
as in many other things, of taking for their suppositions 
things repugnant to common sense. And presently upon 
this they are forced to admit into their discourse many 
monstrous and strange positions, mixing whole bodies with 
whole ; of which this also is one, that three are four. For 
this others put as an example of those things which can- 
not be conceived even in thought. But to the Stoics it is 
a matter of truth, that when one cup of wine is mixed with 
two of water, if it is not to be lost but the mixture is to 
be equalized, it must be extended through the whole and 
oe confounded therewith, so as to make that which was 
one two by the equalization of the mixture. For the one 
remains, but is extended as much as two, and thus is equal 
to the double of itself. Now if it happens in the mixture 
with two to take the measure of two in the diffusion, this 
is together the measure both of three and four, — of three 
because one is mixed with two, and of four because, being 
mixed with two, it has an equal quantity with those with 
which it is mixed. Now this fine subtilty is a consequence 
of their putting bodies into a body, and so likewise is the 
unintelligibleness of the manner how one is contained in 
the other. For it is of necessity that, of bodies passing 
one into another by mixture, the one should not contain 
and the other be contained, nor the one receive and the 
other be received within ; for this would not be a mixture, 
but a contiguity and touching of the superficies, the one 
entering in, and the other enclosing it without, and the 
rest of the parts remaining unmixed and pure, and so it 
would be merely many different things. But there being 
a necessity, according to their axiom of mixture, that the 
things which are mixed should be mingled one within the 
other, and that the same things should together be con- 


tained by being within, and by receiving contain the other, 
and that neither of them could possibly exist again as it 
was before, it comes to pass that both the subjects of the 
mixture mutually penetrate each other, and that there is 
not any part of either remaining separate, but that they 
are necessarily all filled with each other. 

Here now that famous leg of Arcesilaus comes in, with 
much laughter insulting over their absurdities ; for if these 
mixtures are through the whole, Avhat should hinder but 
that, a leg being cut off and putrefied and cast into the sea 
and diffused, not only Antigonus's fleet (as Arcesilaus said) 
might sail through it, but also Xerxes's twelve hundred 
ships, together with the Grecians' three hundred galleys, 
might fight in it ? For the progress will not henceforth 
fail, nor the lesser cease to be in the greater ; or else the 
mixture will be at an end, and the extremity of it, touch- 
ing where it shall end, will not pass through the whole, 
but will give over being mingled. But if the mixture is 
through the whole, the leg will not indeed of itself afford 
the Greeks room for the sea-fight, for to this there is need 
of putrefaction and change ; but if one glass or but one 
drop of wine shall fall from hence into the Aegean or 
Cretan Sea, it will pass into the Ocean or main Atlantic 
Sea, not lightly touching its superficies, but being spread 
quite through it in depth, breadth, and length. And this 
Chrysippus admits, saying immediately in his First Book 
of Natural Questions, that there is nothing to hinder one 
drop of wine from being mixed with the whole sea. And 
that we may not wonder at this, he says that this one drop 
will by mixtion extend through the whole world ; than 
which I know not any thing that can appear more absurd. 

38. And this also is against sense, that there is not in 
the nature of bodies any thing either supreme or first or 
last, in which the magnitude of the body may terminate ; 
but that there is always some phenomenon beyond the 


assumed body, and that this still going on carries the sub- 
ject to infinity and undeterminateness. For one body 
cannot be imagined greater or less than another, if both 
of them may by their parts proceed in injiiiituin ; but the 
nature of inequality is taken away. For of things that are 
esteemed unequal, the one falls short in its last parts, and 
the other goes on and exceeds. Now if there is no in- 
equality, it follows that there is no unevenness nor rough- 
ness of bodies ; for unevenness is the inequality of the 
same superficies with itself, and roughness is an uneven- 
ness joined with hardness ; neither of which is left us by 
those who terminate no body in its last part, but extend 
them all by the multitude of their parts unto an infinity. 
And yet is it not evident that a man consists of more parts 
than a finger, and the world of more than a man ] This 
indeed all men know and understand, unless they become 
Stoics ; but if they are once Stoics, they on the contrary 
say and think that a man has no more parts than a finger, 
nor the world than a man. For division reduces bodies to 
an infinity ; and of infinites neither is more or less or ex- 
ceeds in multitude, or the parts of the remainder will 
cease to be divided and to afford a multitude of them- 

Lamprias. How then do they extricate themselves out 
of these difficulties ] 

DiADUMENUs. Surely with very great cunning and cour- 
age. For Chrysippus says : " If we are asked, if we have 
any parts, and how many, and of what and how many 
parts they consist, we are to use a distinction, making it a 
position that the whole body is compacted of the head, 
trunk, and legs, as if that were all which is enquired and 
doubted of. But if they extend their interrogation to the 
last parts, no such thing is to be undertaken, but we are 
to say that they consist not of any certain parts, nor yet 
of so many, nor of infinite, nor of finite." And I seem to 


myself to have used his very words, that you may perceive 
how he maintains the common notions, forbidding us to 
think of what or how many parts every body is compacted, 
and whether of infinite or finite. For if there were any 
medium between finite and infinite, as the indifferent is 
between good and evil, he should, by telling us what that 
is, have solved the difiiculty. But if — as that which is 
not equal is presently understood to be unequal, and that 
which is not mortal to be immortal — we also understand 
that which is not finite to be immediately infinite, to say 
that a body consists of parts neither finite nor infinite is, 
in my opinion, the same thing as to affirm that an argu- 
ment is compacted of positions neither true nor false. . . . 
39. To this he with a certain youthful rashness adds, 
that in a pyramid consisting of triangles, the sides inclin- 
ing to the juncture are unequal, and yet do not exceed 
one another in that they are greater. Thus does he keep 
the common notions. For if there is any thing greater 
and not exceeding, there will be also something less and 
not deficient, and so also something unequal which neither 
exceeds nor is deficient ; that is, there will be an unequal 
thing equal, a greater not greater, and a less not less. See 
it yet farther, in what manner he answered Democritus, 
enquiring philosophically and properly, if a cone is divided 
by a plane parallel with its base, what is to be thought of 
the superficies of its segments, whether they are equal or 
unequal ; for if they are unequal, they will render the 
cone uneven, receiving many step-like incisions and rough- 
nesses ; but if they are equal, the sections will be equal, 
and the cone will seem to have the same qualities as the 
cylinder, to wit, to be 'composed not of unequal but of 
equal circles ; which is most absurd. Here, that he may 
convince Democritus of ignorance, he says, that the super- 
ficies are neither equal or unequal, but that the bodies are 
unequal, because the superficies are neither equal nor un- 


equal. Indeed to assert this for a law, that bodies are 
unequal while the superficies are not unequal, is the part 
of a man who takes to himself a wonderful liberty of 
writing whatever comes into his head. For reason and 
manifest evidence, on the contrary, give us to understand, 
that the superficies of unequal bodies are unequal, and that 
the bigger the body is, the greater also is the superficies, 
unless the excess, by which it is the greater, is void of a 
superficies. For if the superficies of the greater bodies 
do not exceed those of the less, but sooner fail, a part of 
that body which has an end will be without an end and 
infinite. For if he says that he is compelled to this, . . . 
For those rabbeted incisions, which he suspects in a cone, 
are made by the inequality of the body, and not of the 
superficies. It is ridiculous therefore to take the superficies 
out of the account, and after all to leave the inequality in 
the bodies themselves. But to persist still in this matter, 
what is more repugnant to sense than the imagining of 
such things ? For if we admit that one superficies is 
neither equal nor unequal to another, we may say also of 
magnitude and of number, that one is neither equal nor 
unequal to another ; and this, not having any thing that 
we can call or think to be a neuter or medium between 
equal and unequal. Besides, if there are superficies neither 
equal nor unequal, what hinders but there may be also 
circles neither equal nor unequal? For indeed these su- 
perficies of conic sections are circles. And if circles, 
why may not also their diameters be neither equal nor 
unequal ? And if so, why not also angles, triangles, par- 
allelograms, parallelepipeds, and bodies ? For if the longi- 
tudes are neither equal nor unequal to one another, so 
will the weight, percussion, and bodies be neither equal 
nor unequal. How then dare these men inveigh against 
those who introduce vacuities, and suppose that there are 
some indivisible atoms, and who say that motion and rest 


are not inconsistent with each other, when themselves 
affirm such axioms as these to be false : If any things 
are not equal to one another, they are unequal to one 
another; and the same things are not equal and unequal 
to one another] But when he says that there is some- 
thing greater and yet not exceeding, it were worth the 
while to ask, whether these things quadrate with one 
another. For if they quadrate, how is either the greater ? 
And if they do not quadrate, how can it be but the one 
must exceed and the other fall short? For if neither of 
these be, the other both will and will not quadrate with 
the greater. For those who keep not the common con- 
ceptions must of necessity fall into such perplexities. 

40. It is moreover against sense to say that nothing 
touches another ; nor is this less absurd, that bodies touch 
one another, but touch by nothing. For they are necessi- 
tated to admit these things, who allow not the least parts 
of a body, but assume something which is before that 
which seems to touch, and never cease to proceed still 
farther. What, therefore, these men principally object to 
the- patrons of those indivisible bodies called atoms is this, 
that there is neither a touching of the whole by the whole, 
nor of the parts by the parts ; for that the one makes not 
a touching but a mixture, and that the other is not possi- 
ble, these individuals having no parts. How then do not 
they themselves fall into the same inconvenience, leaving 
no first or last part, whilst they say, that whole bodies 
mutually touch one another by a term or extremity and not 
by a part ? But this term is not a body ; therefore one 
body shall touch one another by that which is incorporeal, 
and again shall not touch, that which is incorporeal com- 
ing between them. And if it shall touch, the body shall 
both do and suffer something by that which is incorporeal. 
For it is the nature of bodies mutually to do and suffer, 
and to touch. But if the body has a touching by that 


which is incorporeal, it will have also a contact, and a mixt- 
ure, and a coalition. Again, in these contacts and mixt- 
ures the extremities of the bodies must either remain, 
or not remain but be corrupted. Now both of these are 
against sense. For neither do they themselves admit cor- 
ruptions and generations of incorporeal things ; nor can 
there be a mixture and coalition of bodies retaining their 
own extremities. For the extremity determines and con- 
stitutes the nature of the body ; and mixtions, unless the 
mutual laying of parts by parts are thereby understood, 
wholly confound all those that are mixed. And, as these 
men say, we must admit the corruption of extremities in 
mixtures, and their generation again in the separation of 
them. But this none can easily understand. Now by 
what bodies mutually touch each other, by the same they 
press, thrust, and crush each other. Now that this should 
be done or suffered by things that are incorporeal, is im- 
possible and not so much as to be imagined. But yet this 
they would constrain us to conceive. For if a sphere 
touch a plane by a point, it is manifest that it may be also 
drawn over the plane upon a point ; and if the superficies 
of it is painted with vermilion, it will imprint a red line 
on the plane ; and if it is fiery hot, it will burn the plane. 
Now for an incorporeal thing to color, or a body to be 
burned by that which is incorporeal, is against sense. But 
if we should imagine an earthen or glassy sphere to fall 
from on high upon a plane of stone, it were against reason- 
to think it would not be broken, being struck against that 
which is hard and solid ; but it would be more absurd that 
it should be broken, falling upon an extremity or point 
that is incorporeal. So that the presumptions concerning 
things incorporeal and corporeal are wholly disturbed, or 
rather taken away, by their joining to them many impos- 

41. It is also against common sense, that there should 

VOL. IV. 27 


be a time future and past, but no time present ; and tha 
erewhile and lately subsist, but now is nothing at all. Ye 
this often befalls the Stoics, who admit not the least tim 
between, nor will allow the present to be indivisible ; bu 
whatsoever any one thinks to take and understand as presJ 
ent, one part of that they say to be future, and the other 
part past ; so that there is no part remaining or left of the^ 
present time : but of that which is said to be present, onQ 
part is distributed to the future, the other to the past, 
Therefore one of these two things follows : either that,^ 
holding there was a time and there will be a time, we must^ 
deny there is a time ; or we must hold that there is a timei 
present, part of which has already been and part will be, and| 
say that of that which now is, one part is future and the* 
other past ; and that of now^ one part is before and the* 
other behind ; and that now is that which is neither yet; 
now nor any longer now ; for that which is past is no: 
longer now^ and that which is to come is not yet now. 
And dividing thus the present, they must needs say of the; 
year and of the day, that part of it was of the year or day 
past, and part will be of the year or day to come ; and 
that of what is together, there is a part before and a part 
after. For no less are they perplexed, confounding to-.Jj 
gether these terms, not yet and already and no longer 
and now and not now. But all other men suppose, es- 
teem, and think erewhile and awhile hence to be different 
parts of time from now^ which is followed by the one and 
preceded by the other. But Archedemus, saying that now 
is the beginning and juncture of that Avhich is past and 
that which is near at hand, has (as it seems) without per- 
ceiving it thereby taken away all time. For if noio is no 
time, but only a term or extremity of time, and if every 
part of time is such as now, all time seems to have no 
parts, but to be wholly dissolved into terms, joints, and be- 
ginnings. But Chrysippus, desiring to show more artifice 



in his division, in his book of Vacuity and some others, 
says, that the past and future time are not, but have sub- 
sisted (or will subsist), and that the present only is ; but 
in his third, fourth, and fifth books concerning Parts, he 
asserts, that of the present time one part is past, the other 
to come. Thus it comes to pass, that he divides subsist- 
ing time into non-subsisting parts of a subsisting total, or 
rather leaves nothing at all of time subsisting, if the 
present has no part but what is either future or past. 

42. These men's conception therefore of time is not 
unlike the grasping of water, which, the harder it is held, 
all the more slides and runs away. As to actions and mo- 
tions, all evidence is utterly confounded. For if now is 
divided into past and future, it is of necessity that what is 
now moved partly has been moved and partly shall be 
moved, that the end and beginning of motion have been 
taken away, that nothing of any work has been done first, 
nor shall any thing be last, the actions being distributed 
with time. For as they say that of present time, part is 
past and part to come ; so of that which is doing, it will 
be said that part is done and part shall be done. When 
therefore had to dine, to write, to walk, a beginning, 
and when shall they have an end, if every one who is din- 
ing has dined and shall dine, and every one who is walk- 
ing has walked and shall walk ? But this is, as it is said, 
of all absurdities the most absurd, that if he who now 
lives has already lived and shall live, then to live neither 
had beginning nor shall have end ; but every one of us, as 
it seems, was born without beginning to live, and shall die 
without ceasing to live. For if there is no last part, but 
he who lives has something of the present still remaining 
for the future, to say *' Socrates shall live " will never be 
false so long as it shall be true to say '* Socrates lives ; " 
and so long also will be false to say " Socrates is dead." 
So that, if " Socrates shall live " is true in infinite parts of 

420 or COMMON conceptions, 

time, it will in no part of time be true to say " Socrates 
is dead." And verily what end will there be of a work, 
and where will you terminate an action, if, as often as it is 
true to say " This is doing," it is likewise true to say " This 
shall be doing " ? For he will lie who shall say, there 
will be an end of Plato's writing and disputing ; sinr^e 
Plato will never give over writing and disputing, if it is 
never false to say of him who disputes that he shall dis- 
pute, and of him who writes that he shall write. More- 
over, there will be no part of that which now is, but either 
has been or is to be, and is either past or future ; but of 
what has been and is to be, of past and future, there is no 
sense ; wherefore there is absolutely no sense of any thing. 
For we neither see what is past and future, nor do we hear 
or have any other sense of what has been or is to be. 
Nothing then, even what is present, is to be perceived by 
sense, if of the present, part is always future and part 
past, — if part has been and part is to be. 

43. Now they indeed say, that Epicurus does intolerable 
things and violates the conceptions, in moving all bodies 
with equal celerity, and admitting none of them to be 
swifter than another. And yet it is much more intolerable 
and farther remote from sense, that nothing can be over 
taken by another : 

Not though Adrastiis's swift-footed steed 
Should chase the tortoise slow. 


as the proverb has it. Now this must of necessity fall out, 
if things move according to prizes and posterms, and the 
intervals through which they pass are (as these men's tenet 
is) divisible in infinitum ; for if the tortoise is but a fur- 
long before the horse, they who divide this fuilong in 
infinitum, and move them both according to pruts and 
posterius, will never bring the swiftest to the slowest ; 
the slower always adding some interval divisible into infi- M 
nite spaces. Now to affirm that, water being poured from 



a bowl or cup, it will never be all poured out, is it not 
both against common sense, and a consequence of what 
these men say ] For no man can understand the motion 
according to prius of things infinitely divisible to be con- 
summated ; but leaving always somewhat divisible, it will 
make all the effusion, all the running and flux of a liquid, 
motion of a solid, and fall of an heavy thing imperfect. 

44. I pass by many absurdities of theirs, touching only 
such as are against sense. The dispute concerning in- 
crease is indeed ancient ; for the question, as Chrysippus 
says, was put by Epicharmus. Now, whereas those of 
the Academy think that the doubt is not very easy and 
ready all of a sudden to be cleared, these men have might- 
ily exclaimed against them, and accused them of taking 
away the presumptions, and yet themselves are so far from 
preserving the common notions, that they pervert even 
sense itself. For the discourse is simple, and these men 
grant the suppositions, — that all particular substances 
flow and are carried, some of them emitting forth some- 
what from themselves, and others receiving things coming 
from elsewhere ; and that the things to which there is 
made an accession or from which there is a decession by 
numbers and multitudes, do not remain the same, but be- 
come others by the said accessions, the substance receiving 
a change ; and that these changes are not rightly called 
by custom increasings or diminutions, but it is fitter they 
should be styled generations and corruptions, because they 
drive by force from one state to another, whereas to in- 
crease and be diminished are passions of a body that is 
subject and permanent. These things being thus in a man- 
ner said and delivered, what would these defenders of 
evidence and canonical regulators of common conceptions 
have? Every one of us (they say) is double, twin-like, 
and composed of a double nature ; not as the poets feigned 
of the Molionidae, that they in some parts grow together 


and in some parts are separated, — but every one of us 
has two bodies, having the same color, the same figure, the 
same weight and place. . . . These things were never 
before seen by any man ; but these men alone have dis- 
cerned this composition, doubleness, and ambiguity, how 
every one of us is two subjects, the one substance, the 
other quality ; and the one is in perpetual flux and mo- 
tion, neither increasing nor being diminished nor remaining 
altogether ; the other remains and increases and is dimin- 
ished, and suffers all things contrary to the former, with 
which it is so concorporated, conjoined, and confounded, 
that it exhibits not any difference to be perceived by sense. 
Indeed, Lynceus is said to have penetrated stones and oaks ; 
with his sight ; and a certain man sitting on a watch-tower 
in Sicily beheld the ships of the Carthaginians setting 
forth from their harbor, which was a day and a night's 
sail from thence. CalHcrates and Myrmecides are said to 
have made chariots that might be covered with the wings 


of a fly, and to have engraved verses of Homer on a se- 
same seed. But none ever discerned or discovered this 
diversity in us ; nor have we perceived ourselves to be _ 
double, in one part always flowing, and in the other re- 1 
maining the same from our birth even to our death. But 
I make the discourse more simple, since they make four 
subjects in every one, or rather every one of us to be four. 
But two are sufficient to show their absurdity. For if, 
when we hear Pentheus in the tragedy affirm that he 
sees two suns and two cities of Thebes,* we say that 
he does not see, but that his sight is dazzled, he being 
transported and troubled in his mind ; why do we not 
bid those farewell, who assert not one city alone, but 
all men and animals, and all trees, vessels, instruments, 
and clothes, to be double and composed of two, as men 
who constrain us to dote rather than to understand ? But 

* Eurip. Bacch. 918. 



this feigning other natures of subjects must perhaps be 
pardoned them ; for there appears no other invention by 
which they can maintain and uphold the augmentations of 
which they are so fond. 

45. But by what cause moved, or for the adorning of 
what other suppositions, they frame in a manner innumer- 
able differences and forms of bodies in the soul, there is 
none can say, unless it be that they remove, or rather 
wholly abdicate and destroy, the common and usual no- 
tions, to introduce other foreign and strange ones. For 
it is very absurd that, making all virtues and vices — and 
with them all arts, memories, fancies, passions, impulses, 
and assents — to be bodies, they should affirm that they 
neither lie nor subsist in any subject, leaving them for a 
place one only hole, like a prick in the heart, where they 
crowd the principal part of the soul, enclosed with so many 
bodies, that a very great number of them lie hid even 
from those who think they can spare and distinguish them 
one from another. Nay, that they should not only make 
them bodies, but also rational creatures, and even a swarm 
of such creatures, not friendly or gentle, but a multitude 
maliciously rebellious and revengeful, and should so make 
of each one of us a park or menagerie or Trojan horse, or 
whatever else we may call their fancies, — this is the very 
height of contempt and rebellion against evidence and 
custom. But they say, that not only the virtues and vices, 
not only the passions, as anger, envy, grief, and malicious- 
ness, not only comprehensions, fancies, and ignorances, not 
only arts, as shoemaking and working in brass, are ani- 
mals ; but besides these, also they make even the operations 
bodies and animals, saying that walking is an animal, as 
also dancing, supposing, saluting, and railing. The con- 
sequence of this is that laughing and weeping are also 
animals ; and if so, then also are coughing, sneezing, 
groaning, spitting, blowing the nose, and other such like 

424 or COMMON conceptions, 

things sufficiently known. Neither have they any cause to 
take it ill that they are by reason, proceeding leisurely, re- 
duced to this, if they shall call to mind how Chrysippus, 
in his First Book of Natural Questions, argues thus : 
"Is not night a body? And are not then the evening, 
dawning, and midnight bodies ? Or is not a day a body ? 
Is not then the first day of the month a body 1 And the 
tenth, the fifteenth, and the thirtieth, are they not bodies ] 
Is not a month a body 1 Summer, autumn, and the year, are 
they not bodies 1 " 

46. These things they hold against the common concep- 
tions ; but those which follow they hold also against their 
own, engendering that which is most hot by refrigeration, 
and that which is most subtile by condensation. For the 
soul, to wit, is a substance most hot and most subtile. But 
this they make by the refrigeration and condensation of the 
body, changing, as it were, by induration the spirit, which 
of vegetative is made animal. Moreover, they say that the 
sun became animated, his moisture changing into intel- 
lectual fire. Behold how the sun is imagined to be engen- 
dered by refrigeration ! Xenophanes indeed, when one 
told him that he had seen eels living in hot water, answered, 
We will boil them then in cold. But if these men engen 
der heat by refrigeration and lightness by condensation, it 
follows, they must also generate cold things by heat, thick 
things by dissolution, and heavy things by rarefaction, that 
so they may keep some proportion in their absurdity. 

47. And do they not also determine the substance and 
generation of conception itself, even against the common 
conceptions 1 For conception is a certain imagination, and 
imagination an impression in the soul. Now the nature 
of the soul is an exhalation, in which it is difficult for an 
impression to be made because of its tenuity, and for which 
it is impossible to keep an impression it may have received. 
For its nutriment and generation, consisting of moist things, 


have continual accession and consumption. And the mixt- 
ure of respiration with the air always makes some new 
exhalation, which is altered and changed by the flux of the 
air coming from abroad and again going out. For one may 
more easily imagine that a stream of running water can 
retain figures, impressions, and images, than that a spirit can 
be carried in vapors and humors, and continually mingled 
with another idle and strange breath from without. But 
these men so far forget themselves, that, having defined the 
conceptions to be certain stored-up intelligences, and me- 
moirs to be constant and habitual impressions, and having 
wholly fixed the sciences, as having stability and firmness, 
they presently place under them a basis and seat of a slip- 
pery substance, easy to be dissipated and in perpetual flux 
and motion. 

48. Now the common conception of an element and 
principle, naturally imprinted in almost all men, is this, 
that it is simple, unmixed, and uncompounded. For that 
is not an element or principle which is mixed ; but those 
things are so of which it is mixed. But these men, 
making God, who is the principle of all things, to be an 
intellectual body and a mind seated in matter, pronounce 
him to be neither simple nor uncompounded, but to be 
composed of and by another; matter being of itself indeed 
without reason and void of quality, and yet having sim- 
plicity and the property of a principle. If then God is 
not incorporeal and immaterial, he participates of matter as 
a principle. For if matter and reason are one and the same 
thing, they have not rightly defined matter to be reasonless ; 
but if they are diff*erent things, then is God constituted of 
them both, and is not a simple, but compound thing, hav- 
ing to the intellectual taken the corporeal from matter. 

49. Moreover, calling these four bodies, earth, water, air, 
and fire, the first elements, they do (I know not how) make 
some of them simple and pure, and others compound and 


mixed. For they hold that earth and water keep together 
neither themselves nor other things, but preserve their 
unity by the participation of air and force of fire ; but that 
air and fire do both fortify themselves by their own strength, 
or being mixed with the other two, give them force, 
permanence, and subsistence. How then is either earth 
or water an element, if neither of them is either simple, 
or first, or self-sufficient, but if each wants somewhat from 
without to contain and keep it in its being? For they 
have not left so much as a thought of their substance ; but 
this discourse concerning the earth has much confusion and; 
uncertainty, when they say that it subsists of itself; for if 
the earth is of itself, how has it need of the air to fix and 
contain it? But neither the earth nor water can any more 
be said to be of itself; but the air, drawing together and 
thickening the matter, has made the earth, and again dis- 
solving and mollifying it, has produced the water. Neither 
of these then is an element, since something else has con- 
tributed being and generation to them both. 

50. Moreover, they say that subsistence and matter are 
subject to qualities, and do so in a manner define them ; 
and again, they make the qualities to be also bodies. But 
these things have much perplexity. For if qualities have 
a peculiar substance, for which they both are and are called 
bodies, they need no other substance ; for they have one 
of their own. But if they have under them in common 
only that which the Stoics call essence and matter, it is 
manifest they do but participate of the body ; for they are 
not bodies. But the subject and recipient must of neces- 
sity differ from those things which it receives and to which 
it is subject. But these men see by halves ; for they say 
indeed that matter is void of quality, but they will not call 
qualities immaterial. Now how can they make a body 
without quality, who understand no quality without a 
body ? For the reason which joins a body to all quality 


suffers not the understanding to compreliend any body with- 
out some quality. Either, therefore, he who oppugns in- 
corporeal quality seems also to oppugn unqualified matter ; 
or separating the one from the other, he mutually parts 
them both. As for the reason which some pretend, that 
matter is called unqualified not because it is void of all 
quality, but because it has all qualities, it is most of all 
against sense. For no man calls that unqualified which is 
capable of every quality, nor that impassible which is by 
nature always apt to suffer all things, nor that immovable 
which is moved every way. And this doubt is not solved, 
that, however matter is always understood with quality, yet 
it is understood to be another thing and differing from 


1. I FIRST lay this down for an axiom, that there oug 
to be seen in men s lives an agreement with their doctrines. 
For it is not so necessary that the pleader (as Aeschines 
has it) and the law speak one and the same thing, as that 
the life of a philosopher be consonant to his speech. For 
the speech of a philosopher is a law of his own and vol- 
untarily imposed on himself, unless they esteem philosophy 
to be a game, or an acuteness in disputing invented for the^ 
gaining of applause, and not — what it really is — a thing 
deserving our greatest study. 

2. Since then there are in their discourses many things 
written by Zeno himself, many by Cleanthes, and most of 
all by Chrysippus, concerning policy, governing, and being 
governed, concerning judging and pleading, and yet there 
is not to be found in any of their lives either leading of 
armies, making of laws, going to parliament, pleading be- 
fore the judges, fighting for their country, travelling on 
embassies, or bestowing of public gifts, but they have all, 
feeding (if I may so say) on rest as on the lotus, led their 
whole lives, and those not short but very long ones, in 
foreign countries, amongst disputations, books, and walk- 
ings ; it is manifest that they have lived rather according 
to the writings and sayings of others than their own pro- 
fessions, having spent all their days in that repose which 
Epicurus and Hieronymus so much commend. 


Chrysippus indeed himself, in his Fourth Book of Lives, 
thinks there is no difference between a scholastic Hfe and 
a voluptuous one. I will set down here his very words : 
" They who are of opinion that a scholastic life is from 
the very beginning most suitable to philosophers seem to 
me to be in an error, thinking that men ought to follow 
this for the sake of some recreation or some other thins: 
like to it, and in that manner to spin out the whole course 
of their life ; that is, if it may be explained, to live at 
ease. For this opinion of theirs is not to be concealed, 
many of them delivering it clearly, and not a few more 
obscurely." Who therefore did more grow old in this 
scholastic life than Chrysippus, Cleanthes, Diogenes, Zeno) 
and Antipater, who left their countries not out of any dis- 
content, but that they might quietly enjoy their delight, 
studying, and disputing at their leisure. To verify which, 
Aristocreon, the disciple and intimate friend of Chrysippus, 
having erected his statue of brass upon a pillar, engraved 
on it these verses : 

This brazen statue Aristocreon 
To's friend Chrysippus newly here has put, 
Whose sharp-edged wit, like sword of champion, 
Did Academic knots in sunder cut. 

Such a one then was Chrysippus, an old man, a philoso- 
pher, one who praised the regal and civil life, and thought 
there was no difference between a scholastic and volup- 
tuous one. 

3. But those others of them who intermeddle in state 
affairs act yet more contradictorily to their own doctrines. 
For they govern, judge, consult, make laws, punish, and 
honor, as if those were indeed cities in the government of 
which they concern themselves, those truly counsellors and 
judges who are at any time allotted to such offices, those 
generals who are chosen by suffrages, and those laws which 
were made by Clisthenes, Lycurgus, and Solon, whom they 


affirm to have been vicious men and fools. Thus even 
the management of state affairs are they at war with them- 

4. Indeed Antipater, in his writings concerning the 
difference between Clean thes and Chrysippus, has related 
that Zeno and Cleanthes would not be made citizens of 
Athens, lest they might seem to injure their own countries. 
I shall not much insist upon it, that, if they did well, 
Chrysippus acted amiss in suffering himself to be enrolled 
as a member of that city. But this is very contradictory 
and absurd, that, removing their persons and their lives so 
far off amongst strangers, they reserved their names for 
their countries ; which is the same thing as if a man, 
leaving his wife, and cohabiting and bedding with another, 
and getting children on her, should yet refuse to contract 
marriage with the second, lest he might seem to wrong the 

5. Again, Chrysippus, writing in his treatise of Rhetoric, 
that a wise man will so plead and so act in the management 
of a commonwealth, as if riches, glory, and health were 
really good, confesses that his speeches are inextricable 
and impolitic, and his doctrines unsuitable for the uses and 
actions of human life. 

6. It is moreover a doctrine of Zeno's, that temples are 
not to be built to the Gods ; for that a temple is neither a 
thing of much value nor holy ; since no work of carpenters 
and handicrafts-men can be of much value. And yet they 
who praise these things as well and wisely said are initiated 
in the sacred mysteries, go up to the Citadel (where Mi- 
nerva's temple stands), adore the shrines, and adorn with 
garlands the sacraries, being the works of carpenters and 
mechanical persons. Again, they think that the Epicu- 
reans, who sacrifice to the Gods and yet deny them to 
meddle with the government of the world, do thereby re- 
fute themselves ; whereas they themselves are more con- 



trary to themselves, sacrificing on altars and in temples, 
which they affirm ought not to stand nor to have been 

7. Moreover, Zeno admits (as Plato does) several virtues 
with various distinctions — to wit, prudence, fortitude, 
temperance and justice — as being indeed inseparable, 
but yet divers and difi'erent from one another. But again, 
defining every one of them, he says that fortitude is pru- 
dence in executing, justice prudence in distributing, as 
being one and the same virtue, but seeming to difi'er in its 
relation to various aff'airs when it comes to action. Nor 
does Zeno alone seem to contradict himself in these mat- 
ters ; but Chrysippus also, who blames Ariston for saying 
that the other virtues are difi'erent habits of one and the 
same virtue, and yet defends Zeno, who in this manner 
defines every one of the virtues. And Cleanthes, having 
m his Commentaries concerning Nature said, that vigor is 
the striking of fire, which, if it is sufficient in the soul to 
perform the duties presented to it, is called force and 
strength ; subjoins these very words : " Now this force and 
strength, when it is in things apparent and to be persisted 
in, is continence ; when in things to be endured, it is for- 
titude ; when about worthiness, it is justice ; and when 
about choosing or refusing, it is temperance." 

8. Against him, who said, 

Give not thy judgment till both sides are heard,* 

Zeno on the contrary made use of such an argument as 
this : " If he who spake first has plainly proved his cause, 
the second is not to be heard, for the question is at an end ; 
and if he has not proved it, it is the same case as if being 
cited he did not appear, or appearing did nothing but 
Avrangle ; so that, whether he has proved or not proved his 
cause, the second is not to be heard." And yet he who 

 In the Paeudo-Phocylidea, vs. 87 (Bergk). 





made this dilemma has written against Plato's Common-I 
weal, dissolved sophisms, and exhorted his scholars to 
learn logic, as enabling them to do the same. Now Plato 
has either proved or not proved those things which he writ 
in his Commonweal ; but in neither case was it necessary 
to write against him, but wholly superfluous and vain 
The same may be said concerning sophisms. 

9. Chrysippus is of opinion, that young students shoul 
first learn logic, secondly, ethics, and after these, physics 
and likewise in this to meddle last of all with the dispute 
concerning the Gods. Now these things having been ofte 
said by him, it will suffice to set down what is found in his 
Fourth Book of Lives, being thus word for word : " Pirst 
then, it seems to me, according as it has been rightly sai 
by the ancients, that there are three kinds of philosophica 
speculations, logical, ethical, and physical, and that of these, 
the logical ought to be placed first, the ethical second, and 
the physical third, and that of the physical, the discours 
concerning the Gods ought to be the last ; wherefore also 
the traditions concerning this have been styled TeXsra/, or the 
JEndings," But that very discourse concerning the Gods 
which he says ought to be placed the last, he usually places 
first and sets before every moral question. For he is seen 
not to say any thing either concerning the ends, or con- 
cerning justice, or concerning good and evil, or concerning 
marriage and the education of children, or concerning the 
law and the commonwealth ; but, as those who propose 
decrees to states set before them the words To Good 
Fortune, so he also premises something of Jupiter, Fate, 
Providence, and of the world's being one and finite and 
maintained by one power. None of which any one can 
be persuaded to believe, who has not penetrated deeply 
into the discourses of natural philosophy. Hear what he 
says of this in his Third Book of the Gods : " For there is 
not to be found any other beginning or any other genera- 



tion of Justice, but what is from Jupiter and common 
Nature. From thence must every such thing have its be- 
ginning, if we will say any thing concerning good and evil." 
And again, in his Natural Positions he says : " For one 
cannot otherwise or more properly come to the discourse 
of good and evil, to the virtues, or to felicity, than from 
common Nature and the administration of the world." And 
going farther on, he adds : " For to these we must annex 
the discourse concerning good and evil, there being no 
other better beginning or relation thereof, and the specula- 
tion of Nature being learned for nothing else, but to under- 
stand the difference between good and evil." According 
to Chrysippus, therefore, the natural science is both before 
and after the moral ; or rather, it is an inversion of order 
altogether absurd, if this must be put after those things 
none of which can be comprehended without this ; and his 
contradicting himself is manifest, when he asserts the dis- 
course of Nature to be the beginning of that concerning 
good and evil, and yet commands it to be delivered, not 
before, but after it. 

Now, if any one shall say that Chrysippus in his book 
concerning the Use of Speech has written, that he who 
applies himself to logic first needs not absolutely to abstain 
from the rest, but should take as much of them as shall 
fall in his way, he will indeed say the truth, but will withal 
confirm the fault. For he oppugns himself, one (while 
commanding that the science concerning God shoiild be 
taken last and for a conclusion, as being therefore also 
called r£p.m/, and again, another while saying that this is to 
be learned together with the very first. For order is at an 
end, if all things must be used at all times. But this is 
more, that having made the science concerning the Gods 
the beginning of that concerning good and evil, he bids>not 
those who apply themselves to the ethics to begin with 
that ; but learning these, to take of that also as it shall 

VrtT TV *" 


come in their way, and then to go from these to that, with- 
out which, he says, there is no beginning or entrance upon 

10. As for disputing on both sides, he says, that he does 
not universally reject it, but exhorts us 'to use it with cau- 
tion, as is done in pleadings, not with a design really to 
disprove, but to dissolve their probability. " For to those," 
says he, " who endeavor a suspension of assent concerning 
all things, it is convenient to do this, and it co operates to 
what they desire ; but as for those who would work and 
establish in us a certain science according to which we 
shall professedly live, they ought, on the contrary, to state 
the first principles, and to direct their novices who are en- 
tered from the beginning to the end ; and where there is 
occasion to make mention of contrary discourses, to dissolve 
their probability, as is done in pleadings." For this he 
hath said in express words. Now that it is absurd for phi- 
losophers to think that they ought to set down the contrary 
opinion, not with all its reasons, but like pleaders, disabling 
it, as if they contended not for truth but victory, we have 
elsewhere spoken against him. But that he himself has, 
not here and there in his disputations, but frequently, con- 
firmed the discourses which are contrary to his own opin- 
ions, — and that stoutly, and with so much earnestness and 
contention that it was not for every one to understand what 
he liked, — the Stoics themselves affirm, Avho admire the 
man's acuteness, and think that Carneades said nothing of 
his own, but that catching hold of those arguments which 
Chrysippus alleged for the contrary opinion, he assaulted 
with them his positions, and often cried out. 

Wretch, thy own strength will thee undo,* 

as if Chrysippus had given great advantages against him- 
self to those who would disturb and calumniate his doc- 

 II. VI. 407. 


But of those things which he has written against custom 
they are so proud and boasting, that they fear not to affirm, 
that all the sayings of all the Academics together, if they 
were collected into one body, are not comparable to what 
Chrysippus has writ in disparagement of the senses. Which 
is an evident sign of the ignorance or self-love of the 
speakers ; but this indeed is true, that being afterwards 
desirous to defend custom and the senses, he was inferior 
to himself, and the latter treatise was much weaker than 
the former. So that he contradicts himself; for having 
always directed the proposing of an adversary's opinions 
not with approbation, but with a demonstration of their 
falsity, he has showed himself more acute in opposing than 
defending his own doctrines ; and having admonished others 
to take heed of contrary arguments, as withdrawing com- 
prehension, he has been more sedulous in framing such 
proofs as take away comprehension, than such as confirm 
it. And yet he plainly shows that he himself feared this, 
writing thus in his Fourth Book of Lives : " Repugnant 
arguments and probabilities on the contrary side are not 
rashly to be proposed, but with caution, lest the hearers 
distracted by them should let go their conceptions, not be- 
ing able sufficiently to apprehend the solutions, but so 
weakly that their comprehensions may easily be shaken. 
For even those who have, according to custom, preconceived 
both sensible objects and other things depending on the 
senses quickly forego them, being distracted by Megarian 
interrogatories and by others more numerous and forcible." 
I would willingly therefore ask the Stoics, whether they 
think these Megarian interrogatories to be more forcible 
than those which Chrysippus has written in six books 
against custom ; or rather this should be asked of Chry- 
sippus himself. For observe what he has written about 
the Megarian reason, in his book concerning the Use of 
Speech, thus : " Some such things fell out in the discourse 


of Stilpo and Menedemiis ; for, whereas they were renowned 
for wisdom, their disputing has turned to their reproach, 
their arguments being part chimsy, and the rest violently 
sophistical." And yet, good sir, you fear lest those argu- 
ments which you deride and term the disgrace of their 
proposers, as having a manifest faultiness, should divert 
some from comprehension. And did not you yourself, 
writing so many books against custom, in which you have 
added whatever you could invent, ambitiously striving to 
exceed Arcesilaus, expect that you should perplex some of 
Tour readers'? For neither does he use slender arguments 
against custom ; but as if he were pleadhig, he with some 
passion in himself stirs up the affections of others, telling 
his opponent that he talks foolishly and labors in vain. 
And that he may leave no room to deny his speaking of 
contradictions, he has in his Natural Positions written thus : 
" It may be lawful for those who comprehend a thing to 
argue on the contrary side, applying to it that defence 
which the matter itself affords ; and sometimes, when they 
comprehend neither, to discourse what is alleged for either." 
And having said in his book concerning the Use of Speech, 
that we ought no more to use the force of reason than of 
arms for such things as are not fitting, he subjoins this : 
" For they are to be employed for the finding out of truths 
and for the alliance of them, and not for the contrary, 
though many men do it." By " many " perhaps he means 
those who withhold their assent. But these philosophers, 
comprehending neither, argue on both sides, believing that, 
if any thing is comprehensible, thus only or chiefly does 
truth aff'ord a comprehension of itself. But you, who ac- 
cuse them, and do yourself write contrary to those things 
which you comprehend concerning custom, and exhort 
others with assurance to do the same, confess that you 
.wantonly use the faculty of disputing, out of vain ambition, 
even on unprofitable and hurtful things. 


11. They say, that a good deed is the command, and sin 
the prohibition of the law ; and therefore that the law 
forbids the wicked many things, but commands them noth- 
ing, because they cannot do a good deed. But who is 
ignorant that he who cannot do a good deed cannot also 
sinl Therefore they make the law to contradict itself, 
commanding men those things which they cannot perform, 
and forbidding them those things from which they cannot 
abstain. For a man who cannot be temperate cannot but 
act intemperately ; and he who cannot be wise cannot but 
act foolishly. And they themselves affirm, that those who 
forbid say one thing, forbid another, and command another. 
For he who says '• Thou shalt not steal " at the same time 
that he says these words, " Thou shalt not steal," forbids also 
to steal, and commands not to steal. The law therefore 
forbids the wicked nothing, unless it also commands them 
something. And they say, that the physician bids his dis- 
ciple to cut and cauterize, omitting to add these words, 
" seasonably and moderately ; " and the musician commands 
his scholar to play on the harp and sing, omitting " tun- 
ably " and " keeping time." Wherefore also they punish 
those who do these things unskilfully and fciultily ; for 
that they were commanded to do them well, and they have 
done them ill. If therefore a wise man commands his 
servant to say or do something, and punishes him for doing 
it unseasonably or not as he ought, is it not manifest that 
he commanded him to do a good action and not an indif- 
ferent one ] But if wise men command wicked ones in- 
different things, what hinders but the commands of the 
law may be also such] Moreover, the impulse (called 
wv) is, according to him, the reason of a man command- 
ing him to do something, as he has written in his book of 
the law. Is not therefore also the aversion (called '«f]po(;///;) 
a prohibiting reason, and a disinclination a disinclination 
agreeable to reason] Caution therefore is also reason 




prohibiting a wise man ; for to be cautious is proper only 
to the wise, and not to the wicked. If then the reason of 
a wise man is one thing and the law another, wise meu 
have caution contrary to the law ; but if the law is nothing 
else but the reason of a wise man, the law is found to for- 
bid wise men the doing of those things of which they are 

12. Chrysippus says, that nothing is profitable to the 
wicked, that the wicked have neither use nor need of any 
thing. Having said this in his First Book of Good Deeds^] 
he says again, that both commodiousness and grace pertain 
to mean or indifferent things, none of which, according to 
them, is profitable. In the same place he affirms, tha 
there is nothing proper, nothing convenient for a viciousi 
man, in these words : " On the same principle we declare] 
that there is nothing foreign or strange to the good man, 
and nothing proper or rightfully belonging to the bad 
man, since the one is good and the other bad." Why 
then does he break our heads, writing particularly in everyj 
one of his books, as well natural as moral, that as soon as 
we are born, we are appropriated to ourselves, our parts, 
and our offspring ] And why in his First Book of Justice 
does he say that the very brutes, proportionably to the 
necessity of their young, are appropriated to them, except 
fishes, whose young are nourished by themselves'? For 
neither have they sense who have nothing sensible, nor 
they appropriation who have nothing proper ; for appro- 
priation seems to be the sense and perception of what is 

13. And this opinion is consequent to their principal 
ones. It is moreover manifest that Chrysippus, though he 
has also written many things to the contrary, lays this for 
a position, that there is not any vice greater or any sin 
more grievous than another, nor any virtue more excellent 
or any good deed better than another ; so that he says in 


his Third Book of Nature : " As it well beseems Jupiter to 
glory in himself and his life, to magnify himself, and (if 
we may so say) to bear up his head, have an high conceit 
of himself, and speak big, for that he leads a life worthy 
of lofty speech ; so the same things do not misbeseem all 
good men, since they are in nothing exceeded by Jupiter." 
And yet himself, in his Third Book of Justice, says, that 
they who make pleasure the end destroy justice, but they 
who say it is only a good do not destroy it. These are his 
very words : " For perhaps, if we leave this to pleasure, 
that it is a good but not the end, and that honesty is one 
of those things which are eligible for themselves, we may 
preserve justice, making the honest and the just a greater 
good than pleasure." But if that only is good which is 
honest, he who affirms pleasure to be a good is in an error, 
but he errs less than he who makes it also the end ; for 
the one destroys justice, the other preserves it; and by 
the one human society is overthrown, but the other leaves 
a place to goodness and humanity. Now I let pass his 
saying farther in his book concerning Jupiter, that the 
virtues increase and go on, lest I may seem to catch at 
words ; though Chrysippus is indeed in this kind very 
sharp upon Plato and others. But when he forbids the 
praising of every thing that is done according to virtue, he 
shows that there is some difference between good deeds. 
Now he says thus in his book concerning Jupiter : " For 
since each virtue has its own proper works, there are some 
of these that are more to be praised than others ; for he 
would show himself to be very frigid, that should under- 
take to praise and extol any man for holding out the finger 
stoutly, for abstaining chastely from an old woman ready 
to drop into the grave, and patiently hearing it said that 
three are not exactly four." What he says in his Third 
Book of the Gods is not unlike to this : " For I moreover 
think that the praises of such things as to abstain from ai^ 


old woman who has one foot m the grave, and to endure 
the bite of a fly, though proceeding from virtue, would be 
very impertinent." What other reprehender of his doc- 
trines does this man then expect ? For if he who praises 
such things is frigid, he who asserts every one of them to 
be a great — nay, a very great good deed — is much more 
frigid. Eor if to bear the bite of a fly is equal to the 
being valiant, and to abstain from an old trot now at the 
pit's brink is equal to the being temperate, there is, I 
think, no difference whether a virtuous man is prized for 
these or for those. Moreover, in his Second Book of 
Friendship, teaching that friendships are not for every 
fault to be dissolved, he has these very expressions : " For 
it is meet that some faults should be wholly passed by, 
others lightly reprehended, others more severely, and others 
deemed worthy a total dissolution of friendship." And 
w^hich is more, he says in the same book, that we will 
converse with some more and some less, so that some shall 
be more and some less friends ; and this diversity extend- 
ing very far, some are worthy of such an amity, others of 
a greater; and these will deserve to be so far trusted, 
those not so far, and the like. For what else has he done 
in these places, but shown the great diversity there is be 
tween these things ? Moreover, in his book concerning 
Honesty, to demonstrate that only to be good which is 
honest, he uses these words : " What is good is eligible ; 
what is eligible is acceptable ; what is acceptable is laud- 
able ; and what is laudable is honest." And again : "What 
is good is joyous ; what is joyous is venerable ; what is 
venerable is honest." But these speeches are repugnant 
to himself; for either all good is commendable, and then 
the abstaining chastely from an old woman is also com- 
mendable ; or all good is neither venerable nor joyous, 
and his reason falls to the ground. For how can it 
possibly be frigid in others to praise any for such 


things, and not ridiculous for him to rejoice and glory 
in them ? 

14. Such indeed he frequently is ; but in his disputations 
against others he takes not the least care of speaking 
things contrary and dissonant to himself. For in his books 
of Exhorting, reprehending Plato, who said, that to hiraj 
who has neither learned nor knows how to live it is profit- 
able not to live, he speaks in this manner : '• For this 
speech is both repugnant to itself, and not at all persuasive. 
For first insinuating that it is best for us not to live, and in 
a sort counselhng us to die, he will excite us rather to any 
thing else than to be philosophers ; for neither can he who 
does not live philosophize, nor he who shall live long 
wickedly and ignorantly become wise." And going on, he 
says that it is convenient for the wicked also to continue 
in life. And afterwards thus, word for word : " First, as 
virtue, barely taken, has nothing towards our living, so 
neither has vice any thing to oblige us to depart." Nor is 
it necessary to turn over other books, that we may show 
Chrysippus's contradictoriness to himself; but in these 
same, he sometimes Avitli commendation brings forth this 
saying of Antisthenes, that either understanding or a 
halter is to be provided, as also that of Tyrtaeus, 

Come nigh the hounds of virtue or of death. 

Now what else will this show, but that to wicked men 
and fools not to live is more profitable than to live ] And 
sometimes correcting Theognis, he says, that the poet should 
not have written, 

From poverty to fly ; — 

but rather thus. 

From wickedness to fly, into the deep 

Throw thyself, Cyrnus, or from rocks so steep.* 

What therefore else does he seem to do, but to set down 

* See Theognis, vs. 175. 


himself those things and doctrines which, when other 
write them, he expunges ; condemning, indeed, Plato fo 
showing that not to live is better than to live viciously and 
ignorantly ; and yet counselling Theognis to let a man 
break his neck or throw himself into the sea, that he may 
avoid vice ? For having praised Antisthenes for directing 
fools to an halter, he again blames him, saying that vice 
has nothing that should oblige us to depart out of life. 

15. Moreover, in his books against the same Plato, coii-> 
cerning Justice, he immediately at the very beginning leap 
into a discourse touching the Gods, and says, that Cephalu$ 
did not rightly avert men from injustice by the fear of th^ 
Gods, and that his doctrine is easily misrepresented, ancj 
that it affords to the contrary many arguments and proba- 
bilities impugning the discourse concerning divine punish- 
ments, as nothing differing from the tales of Acco and 
Alphito (or Raw-Head and Bloody-Bones), with which 
women are wont to frighten little children from their un 
lucky pranks. Having thus traduced Plato, he in othe 
places again praises him, and often alleges this saying of 
Euripides : 

H(uve'er you may deride it, there's a Jove, 
With other Gods, who sees men's woes above. 

And likewise, in his First Book of Justice citing these 
verses of Hesiod, 

Then Jove from heaven punishments did send, 
And phigue and famine brought them to their end,* 


he says, the Gods do these things, that the wicked being 
punished, others admonished by these examples may less 
dare to attempt the doing of such things. 

Again, in his book of Justice, subjoining, that it is pos- 
sible for those who make pleasure a good but not the end 
to preserve also justice, he said in express terms: "For 
perhaps if we leave this to pleasure, that it is a good but 

* Works and Days, 212. 


not the end, and that honesty is one of those things which 
are eh'gible for themselves, we may preserve justice, making 
the honest and the just a greater good than pleasure." So 
much he says in this place concerning pleasure. But in 
his book against Plato, accusing him for seeming to make 
health a good, he says, that not only justice, but also mag- 
nanimity, temperance, and all the other virtues will be 
taken away, if we make pleasure, health, or any thing else 
which is not honest, to be a good. What therefore is to be 
said for Plato, we have elsewhere written against him. 
But here his contradicting himself is manifest, when he 
says in one place, that if a man supposes that with honesty 
pleasure also is a good, justice is preserved, and in an- 
other, accuses those who make any thing besides honesty 
to be a good of taking away all the virtues. But that he 
may not leave any means of making an apology for his 
contradictions, writing against Aristotle concerning justice, 
he affirms him not to have spoken rightly when he said, 
that pleasure being made the end, justice is taken away, 
and together with justice, every one also of the other 
virtues. For justice (he says) will indeed be taken away ; 
but there is nothing to hinder the other virtues from re- 
maining and being, though not eligible for themselves, yet 
good and virtues. Then he reckons up every one of them 
by name. But it will be better to set down his own words. 
" For pleasure," says he, " appearing according to this dis- 
course to be made the end, yet all this seems not to me to 
be contained in it. Wherefore we must say, that neither 
any of the virtues is eligible nor any of the vices to be 
avoided for itself, but that all these things are to bo re- 
ferred to the proposed scope. Yet nothing, according to 
their opinion, will hinder but that fortitude, prudence, con- 
tinence, and patience may be good, and their contraries to 
be avoided." Has there ever then been any man more 
peevish in his disputes than he, who has blamed two of 


the principal philosophers, the one for taking away all 
virtue, by not making that only to be good which is honest, 
and the other for not thinking all the virtues except justice 
to be preserved, though pleasure is made the end] For it 
is a wonderful licentiousness that, discoursing of the same 
matters, he should when accusing Plato take away again 
those very things which himself sets down when repre- 
hending Aristotle. Moreover, in his demonstrations con- 
cerning justice, he says expressly, that every good deed is 
both a lawful action and a just operation ; but that every 
thing which is done according to continence, patience, pru- 
dence, or fortitude is a good deed, and therefore also a just 
operation. Wliy then does he not also leave justice to 
them to whom he leaves prudence, fortitude, and conti- 
nence ; since whatever thev do well accordinsr to the said 
virtue, they do also justly? 

16. Moreover, Plato having said, that injustice, as being 
the corruption and sedition of the soul, loses not its power 
even in those who have it within them, but sets the wicked 
man against himself, and molests and disturbs him ; Chry- 
sippus, blaming this, affirms that it is absurdly said, " A 
man injures himself;" for that injustice is to another, and 
not to one's self. But forgetting this, he ggain says, in 
his demonstrations concerning justice, that the unjust man 
is injured by himself and injures himself when he injures 
another, becoming to himself the cause of transgressing, 
and undeservedly hurting himself. In his books indeed 
against Plato, contending that we cannot speak of injus- 
tic^e against one's self, but against another, he has these 
words: " For men cannot be unjust by themselves ; injus- 
tice requires several on opposite sides, speaking contrary 
one unto another. But no such thins; extends to one 
alone, except inasmuch as he is affected towards his neigh- 
bor." But in his demonstrations he has such discourses as 
these, concerning the unjust man's being injurious also to 


himself: " The law forbids the being any way the author 
of transgression, and to act unjustly will be transgression. 
He therefore who is to himself the author of acting un- 
justly transgresses against himself. Now he that trans- 
gresses against any one also injures him ; therefore Irc who 
is injurious to any one whomsoever is injurious also to 
himself." Again : " Sin is a hurt, and every one who 
sins sins against himself; every one therefore who sins 
hurts himself undeservedly, and if so, is also unjust to 
himself." And farther thus : " He who is hurt by anoth- 
er hurts himself, and that undeservedly. Now that is to 
be unjust. Every one therefore that is injured, by whom- 
soever it is, is unjust also to himself." 

17. He says, that the doctrine concerning good and 
evil which himself introduces and approves is most agree- 
able to life, and does most of all reach the inbred pre- 
notions ; for this he has affirmed in his Third Book of 
Exhortations. But in his First Book he says, that this 
doctrine takes a man off from all other things, as being 
nothing to us, nor co-operating any thing towards felicity. 
See now, how consonant he is to himself, Avhen he asserts 
a doctrine which takes us off from life, health, indolence, 
and integrity of the senses, and says that those things we 
beg of the Gods are nothing to us, though most agreeable 
to life and to the common presumptions. But that there 
may be no denial of his speaking contradictions, in his 
Third Book of Justice he has said thus : " Wherefore also, 
from the excellence of their greatness and beauty, we 
seem to speak things like to fictions, and not according to 
man or human nature." Is it then possible that any one 
can more plainly confess his speaking things contrary to 
himself than this man does, who affirms those things which 
(he says) for their excellency seem to be fictions and to be 
spoken above man and human nature, to be agreeable to 
life, and most of all to reach the inbred prenotions 1 


18. In every one of his natural and ethical books, he 
asserts vice to be the very essence of unhappiness ; writ- 
ing and contending that to live viciously is the same thing 
as to live unhappily. But in his Third Book of Nature, 
having said that it is profitable for a fool to live rather 
than to die, though he is never to become wise, he sub- 
joins : " For such is the nature of good things among 
men, that evil things are in some sort preferred before in- 
different ones." I let pass therefore, that having else- 
where said that nothing is profitable to fools, he here says 
that to live foolishly is profitable to them. Now those 
things being by them called indifferent which are neither 
bad nor good, when he says that bad things precede them, 
he says nothing else but that evil things precede those 
that are not evil, and that to be unhappy is more profita- 
ble than not to be unhappy ; and if so, he esteems not 
to be unhappy to be more unprofitable — and if more 
improfitable, more hurtful — than to be unhappy. Desir- 
ing therefore to mitigate this absurdity, he adds con- 
cerning evils : " But it is not these evils that are preferred, 
but reason ; with which it is more convenient to live, 
though we shall be fools." First therefore he says that 
Wee and things participating of vice are evil, and that 
nothing else is so. Now vice is something reasonable, or 
rather depraved reason. For those therefore who are 
fools to live with reason, is nothing else but to live with 
vice. Thence to live being fools is to live being unhappy. '|l 
In what then is this preferred to indifferent things 1 For 
he surely will not say that with regard to happiness unhap- 
piness is to be preferred. But neither, say they, does 
Chrysippus altogether think that the remaining in life is 
to be reckoned amongst good things, or the going out of 
it amongst bad ; but both of them amongst indifferent 
ones, according to Nature. Wherefore also it sometimes 
becomes meet for the happy to make themselves away, 


and again for the unhappy to continue in life. Now what 
greater repugnance can there be than this in the choice 
and avoiding of things, if it is convenient for those who 
are in the highest degree happy to forsake those good 
things that are present, for the want of some one indiffer- 
ent thing? And yet they esteem uQue of the indifferent 
things either desirable or to be avoided ; but only good de- 
sirable, and only evil to be avoided. So that it comes to 
pass, according to them, that the reasoning about actions 
regards, neither things desirable nor things refusable ; but 
that aiming at other things, which they neither shun nor 
choose, they make life and death dependent on these. 

19. Chrysippus confesses that good things are totally 
different from bad ; and it must of necessity be so, if these 
make them with whom they are present miserable to the 
very utmost point, and those render their possessors in the 
highest degree happy. Now he says, that good and evil 
things are sensible, writing thus in his First Book of the 
End : " That good and evil things are perceptible by sense, 
we are by these reasons forced to say ; for not only the 
passions, with their species, as sorrow, fear, and such 
others, are sensible ; but we may also have a sense of 
theft, adultery, and the like, and generally, of folly, cow- 
ardice, and other vices not a few ; and again, not only of 
joy, beneficence, and many other dependences on good 
deeds, but also of prudence, fortitude, and the other vir- 
tues." Let us pass by the other absurdities of these things ; 
but that they are repugnant to those things Avhich are de- 
livered by him concerning " the wise man that knows 
nothing of his being so," who does not confess ? For good, 
when present, being sensible and having a great difference 
from evil, is it not most absurd, that he who is of bad be- 
come good should be ignorant of it, and not perceive vir- 
tue when present, but think that vice is still within him? 
For either none who has all virtues can be ignorant and 


floubt of his having them ; or the diiference of virtue from' 
vice, of happine&s from misery, and of a most honest life 
from a most shameful one, is little and altogether difficult 
to be discerned, if he who has exchanged the one for the 
other does not perceive it. 

20. He has written one volume of lives divided into 
four books ; in the fourth of these he says, that a wise 
man meddles with no business but his own, and is em- 
ployed about his own affairs. His words are these : 
" For I am of opinion, that a prudent man shuns, affairs, 
meddles little, and at the same time minds his own occa- 
sions ; civil persons being both minders of their own 
affairs and meddlers with little else." He has said almost 
the same in his book of Things eligible for Themselves, in 
these very words : " For indeed a quiet life seems to have 
in it a certain security and freedom from danger, though 
there are not very many w^ho can comprehend it." It is 
manifest that he does not much dissent from Epicurus, 
who takes away Providence that he may leave God in 
repose. But the same Chrysippus in his First Book of 
Lives says, that a wise man wdllingly takes upon him a 
kingdom, making his profit by it ; and if he cannot reign 
himself, will dwell with a king, and go to the wars with 
such a king as Avas Hydanthyrsus the Scythian or Leucon 
the Pontic. But I will here also set down his very dis- 
course, that we may see whether, as from the treble and the f 
base strings there arises a symphony in music, so the life 
of a man who chooses quietness and meddling with little 
accords with him who, upon any necessity, rides along 
wdth the Scythians and manages the affairs of the tyrants 
in the Bosphorus : " For that a wise man will both go to the 
wars and live with potentates, we will again consider this 
hereafter ; some indeed upon the like arguments not so 
much as suspecting this, and we for semblable reasons ad- 
mitting it." And a little after : *' Not only with those who 


have proceeded well, and are become proficients in disci- 
pline and good manners, as with Leucon and Hydan- 

Some there are who blame Callisthenes for sailing to 
Alexander in hopes to obtain the rebuilding of Olynthus, 
as iVristotle had procured that of Stagira ; and commend 
Ephorus, Xenocrates, and Menedemus, who rejected Alex- 
ander's invitation. But Chrysippus thrusts his wise man 
headforwards for the sake of gain, as far as Panticapaeum 
and the desert of the Scythians. And that he does this 
for the sake of profit and gain, he has showed before, 
supposing three ways of gaining most suitable for a 
wise man, — the first by a kingdom, the second by his 
friends, and the third, besides these, by teaching of phil- 
osophy. And yet he frequently even tires us with his 
praises of this saying: 

What need have men of more than these two things ? 

And in his books of Nature he says, that a wise man, if he 
has lost the greatest wealth imaginable, seems to have lost 
but a single groat. But having there thus elevated and 
pufi'ed him up, he again here throws him down to merce- 
nariness and sophistry; nay, to asking pay and even to 
receiving it beforehand, sometimes at the very entrance of 
his scholar, and otherwhiles after some time past. The 
latter, he says indeed, is the more civil, but to receive 
beforehand the more sure ; delay being subject to sustain 
injuries. Now he says thus : " All who are well advised 
do not require their salary in the same manner, but diff'er- 
ently ; a multitude of them, as opportunity offers, not 
promising to make their scholars good men, and that 
within a year, but to do this, as far as in them lies, within 
a time agreed on." And again going on, he says: "But 
he will know his opportunity, whether he ought to receive 
his recompense presently at the very entrance (as many 

VOL. IV. 29 


have done), or to give them time, this manner being more 
liable to injuries, but withal, seeming the more courteous." 
And how is the wise man a contemner of wealth, who 
upon a contract delivers virtue for money, and if he has 
not delivered it, yet requires his reward, as having done 
what is in him ] Or how is he above being endamaged, 
when he is so cautious lest he be wronged of his recom- 
pense 1 For no man is wronged who is not endamaged. 
Therefore, though he has elsewhere asserted that a wise 
man cannot be injured, he here says, that this manner of 
dealing is liable to injury. 

21. In his book of a CommouAveal he says, that his citi- 
zens will neither act nor prepare any thing for the sake of 
pleasure, and praises Euripides for having uttered this 
sentence : 

What need have men of more than these two things, 
The fruits of Ceres, and thirst-quenching springs 1 


And yet a little after this, going on, he commends Diogenes 
who forced his nature to pass from himself in public, 
said to those that were present : I wish I could in the 
same manner drive hunger also out of my belly. What 
reason then is there to praise in the same books him who 
rejects all pleasure, and withal, him who for the sake of 
pleasure does such things, and proceeds to such a degree 
of filthiness] Moreover, having in his book of Nature 
written, that Nature has produced many creatures for the 
sake of beauty, delighting in pulchritude and pleasing her- 
self with variety, and having added a most absurd expres- 
sion, that the peacock was made for the sake of his tail 
and for the beauty of it ; he has, in his treatise of a Com- 
monweal, sharply repreb^nded those who bred peacocks 
and nightingales, as if he were making laws contrary to 
the lawgiver of the world, and deriding Nature for pleas- 
ing herself in the beauty of animals to which a wise man 
would not give a place in his city. For how can it but be 


absurd to blame those who nourish these creatures, if he 
commends Providence which created them ? In his Fifth 
Book of Nature, having said, that bugs profitably awaken 
us out of our sleep, that mice make us cautious not to lay 
up every thing negligently, and that it is probable that 
Nature, rejoicing in variety, takes delight in the production 
of fair creatures, he adds these words : " The evidence 
of this is chiefly shown in the peacock's tail ; for here she 
manifests that this animal was made for the sake of his 
tail, and not the contrary ; so, the male being made, the 
female follows." In his book of a Commonweal, having 
said that we are ready to paint even dunghills, a little after 
he adds, that some beautify their cornfields with vines 
climbing up trees ^ and myrtles set in rows, and keep pea- 
cocks, doves, and partridges, that they may hear them 
cackle and coo, and nightingales. Now I would gladly 
ask him, what he thinks of bees and honey ? For it was 
of consequence, that he who said bugs were created profit- 
ably should also say that bees were created unprofitably. 
But if he allows these a place in his city, why does he 
drive away his citizens from things that are pleasing and 
delight the ear 1 To be brief, — as he would be very ab- 
surd who should blame the guests for eating sweetmeats 
and other delicacies and drinking of wine, and at the same 
time commend him who invited them and prepared such 
things for them ; so he that praises Providence, which has 
afi*orded fishes, birds, honey, and wine, and at the same 
time finds fault with those who reject not these things, nor 
content themselves with 

The fruits of Ceres and thirst-quenching springs, 

which are present and sufficient to nourish us, seems to 
make no scruple of speaking things contradictory to him- 

22. Moreover, having said in his book of Exhortations, 


that the having carnal' commerce with our mothers, daugh- 
ters, or sisters, the eating forbidden food, and the going 
from a woman's bed or a dead carcass to the temple, have 
been without reason blamed, he affirms, that we ought for 
these tilings to have a regard to the brute beasts, and from 
what is done by them conclude that none of these is ab- 
surd or contrary to Nature ; for that the comparisons of 
other animals are fitly made for this purpose, to show that 
neither their coupling, bringing-forth, nor dying in the 
temples pollutes the Divinity. Yet he again in his Fifth 
Book of Nature says, that Hesiod rightly forbids the making 
water into rivers and fountains, and that we should rather 
abstain from doing this against any altar, or statue of the 
Gods ; and that it is not to be admitted for an argument, 
that dogs, asses, and young children do it, who have no 
discretion or consideration of such things. It is therefore 
absurd to say in one place, that the savage example of 
irrational animals is fit to be considered, and in another, 
that it is unreasonable to allege it. 

23. To give a solution to the inclinations, when a man 
seems to be necessitated by exterior causes, some philoso- 
phers place in the principal faculty of the soul a certain 
adventitious motion, which is chiefly manifested in things 
differing not at all from one another. For when, with two 
things altogether alike and of equal importance, there is a 
necessity to choose the one, there being no cause inclining 
to either, for that neither of them differs from the other, 
this adventitious power of the soul, seizing on its inclina- 
tion, determines the doubt. Chrysippus, discoursing against 
these men, as offering violence to Nature by devising an 
effect without a cause, in many places alleges the die and 
the balance, and several other things, which cannot fall or 
incline either one way or the other without some cause or 
difference, either wholly within them or coming to them 
from without ; for that what is causeless (he says) is 



wholly insubsistent, as also what is fortuitous ; and iu 
those motions devised by some and called adventitious, 
there occur certain obscure causes, which, being con- 
cealed from us, move our inclinations to one side or other. 
These are some of those things which are most evidently 
known to have been frequently said by him ; but w^hat he 
has said contrary to this, not lying so exposed to every 
one's sight, I will set down in his own words. For in his 
book of Judging, having supposed two running for a 
wager to have exactly finished their race together, he 
examines what is fit for the judge in this case to do. 
"Whether," says he, ''may the judge give the palm to 
which of them he will, because they both happen to be 
so familiar to him, that he would in some sort seem to 
bestow on them somewhat of his own ] Or rather, since 
the palm is common to both, may it be, as if lots had been 
cast, given to either, according to the inclination he chan- 
ces to have ? I say the inclination he chances to have, as 
when two groats, every way else alike, being presented to 
us, we incline to one of them and take it." And in his 
Sixth Book of Duties, having said that there are some 
things not w^orthy of much study or attention, he thinks 
we ought, as if we had cast lots, to commit the choice of 
those things to the casual inclination of the mind : " As 
if," says he, '^ of those who try the same two groats in a 
certain time, some should say this and others that to be 
good, and there being no more cause for the taking of one 
than the other, we should leave ofi" making any farther 
enquiry into their value, and take that which chances to 
come first to hand ; thus casting the lot (as it were) ac- 
cording to some hidden principle, and being in danger of 
choosing the worse of them." For in these passages, the 
casting of lots and the casual inclining of the mind, which 
is Avithout any cause, introduce the choice of indifferent 



24. In his Third Book of Dialectics, having said thj 
Plato, Aristotle, and those who came after them, even 
Polemon and Straton, but especially Socrates,* diligenth 
studied dialectics, and having cried out that one wouh 
even choose to err with such and so great men as these| 
he brings in these words : "• For if they had spoken oj 
these things cursorily, one might perhaps have cavilled ai 
this place ; but having treated of dialectic skill as one oi 
the greatest and most necessary faculties, it is not probable 
they should have been so much mistaken, having beei 
such in all the parts of philosophy as we esteem them. 
Why then (might some one say to him) do you nevei 
cease to oppose and argue against such and so great mei 
as if you thought them to err in the principal and greatest 
matters 1 For it is not probable that they writ serioush 
of dialectics, and only transitorily and in sport of th< 
bc£:inning, end, Gods, and justice, in which you affiri 
their discourse to be blind and contradictory to itself, an( 
to have a thousand other faults. 

25. In one place he says, that the vice called 'ETtixainsAaxia 
or the rejoicing at other men's harms, has no being ; sinc( 
no good man ever rejoiced at another's evils. But in hi^ 
Second Book of Good, having declared envy to be a sorroM 
at other men's good, — to wit, in such as desire the de 
pression of their neighbors that themselves may excel, 
he joins to it this rejoicing at other men's harms, saying thus: 
" To this is contiguous the rejoicing at other men's harms, h 
such as for like causes desire to have their neighbors low 
but in those that are turned according to other natural m( 
tioiis, is engendered mercy." For he manifestly admit 
the joy at other men's harms to be subsistent, as well 
envy and mercy ; though in other places he affirms it 
have no subsistence ; as he does also the hatred of wicked| 
ness, and the desire of dishonest gain. 

26. Having in many places said, that those Avho have 


long time been happy are nothing more so, but equally 
and in like manner with those who have but a moment 
been partakers of felicity, he has again in many other 
places affirmed, that it is not fit to stretch out so much as 
a finger f jr the obtaining momentary prudence, which flies 
away like a flash of lightning. It will be sufficient to set 
down what is to this purpose written by him in his Sixth 
Book of Moral Questions. For having said, that neither 
docs every good thing equally cause joy, nor every good 
deed the like glorying, he subjoins these words : " For if 
a man should have wisdom only for a moment of time or 
the last minute of life, he ought not so much as to stretch 
out his finger for such a short-lived prudence." And yet 
men are neither more happy for being longer so, nor is 
eternal felicity more eligible than that which lasts but a 
moment. If he had indeed held prudence to be a good, 
producing felicity, as Epicurus thought, one should have 
blamed only the absurdity and the paradoxicalness of this 
opinion ; but since prudence of itself is not another thing 
differing from felicity, but felicity itself, how is it not a 
contradiction to say, that momentary happiness is equally 
desirable with eternal, and yet that momentary happiness 
is nothing worth ? 

27. Chrysippus also says, that the virtues follow one 
another, and that not only he who has one has all, but also 
that he who acts according to any one of them acts ac- 
cording to them all ; and he affirms, that there is not any 
man perfect who is not possessed of all the virtues, nor 
any action perfect to the doing of which all the virtues do 
not concur. But yet in his Sixth Book of Moral Questions 
he says, that a good man does not always act valiantly, nor 
a vicious man always fearfully ; for certain objects being 
presented to the fancies, the one must persist in his judg- 
ments, and the other depart from them ; and he says that 
it is not probable a wicked man should be always indulg- 


ing his lust. If then to act valiantly is the same thing 
to use fortitude ; and to act timorously as to yield to fear, 
they cannot but speak contradictions who say, that he who 
is possessed of either virtue or vice acts at the same time 
according to all the virtues or all the vices, and yet that a 
vahant man does not always act valiantly nor a vicious man 

28. He defines Rhetoric to be an art concerning the 
ornament and the ordering of a discourse that is pro- 
nounced. And farther in his First Book he has written 
thus : " And I am not only of opinion that a regard ought 
to be had to a liberal and* simple adorning of words, but 
also that care is to be taken for proper delivery, as 
regards the right elevation of the voice and tlie composi- 
tions of the countenance and hands." Yet he, who is in 
this place so curious and exact, again in the same book, 
speaking of the collision of the vowels, says : " We ought 
not only to let these things pass, minding somewhat that 
is better, but also to neglect certain obscurities and defects, 
nay, solecisms also, of which others, and those not a few, 
would be ashamed." Certainly, in one place to allow those 
who would speak eloquently so carefully to dispose their 
speech as even to observe a decorum in the very composi- 
tion of their mouth and hands, and in another place to 
forbid the taking care of defects and obscurities, and the 
being ashamed even of committing solecisms, is the prop- 
erty of a man who little cares what he says, but rashly 
utters whatever comes first into his mouth. 

29. Moreover, in his Natural Positions having warned 
us not to trouble ourselves but to be at quiet about such 
things as require experience and investigation, he says : 
*' Let us not think after the same manner with Plato, that 
liquid nourishment is conveyed to the lungs, and dry to the 
stomach ; nor let us embrace other errors like to these." 
Now it is my opinion, that to reprehend others, and then 


not to keep one^s self from falling into those things which 
one has reprehended, is the greatest of contradictions and 
shamefullest of errors. But he says, that the connections 
made by ten axioms amount to above a million in number, 
having neither searched diligently into it by himself nor 
attained to the truth by men experienced in it. Yet Plato 
had to testify for him the most renowned of the physicians, 
Hippocrates, Philistion, and Dioxippus the disciple of Hip- 
pocrates ; and of the poets, Euripides, Alcaeus, Eupolis, 
and Eratosthenes, who all say that the drink passes through 
the lungs. But all the arithmeticians refel Chrysippus, 
amongst whom also is Hipparchus, demonstrating that the 
error of his computation is very great ; since the affirma- 
tive makes of the ten axioms one hundred and three 
thousand forty and nine connections, and the negative 
three hundred and ten thousand nine hundred fifty and 

30. Some of the ancients have said, that the same befell 
Zeno which befalls him who has sour wine which he can 
sell neither for vinegar nor wine ; for his " things pre- 
ferred," as he called them, cannot be disposed of, either as 
good or as indifferent. But Chrysippus has made the 
matter yet far more intricate ; for he sometimes says, that 
they are mad who make no account of riches, health, 
freedom from pain, and integrity of the body, nor take 
any care to attain them ; and having cited that sentence of 

Work hard, God-born Perses,* 

he cries out, that it would be a madness to advise the 
contrary and say, 

Work not, O God-boni Perses. 

And in his book of Lives he affirms, that a wise man 
will for the sake of gain live with kings, and teach for 

• Works and Days, 299. 


money, receiving from some of his scholars his rewar 
beforehand, and making contract with others of them ; 
and in his Seventh Book of Duties he says, that he will 
not scruple to turn his heels thrice over his head, if for 
so doing he may have a talent. In his First Book of Good 
Things, he yields and grants to those that desire it to call 
tliese preferred things good and their contraries evil, in 
these very words : •" Any one who will, according to these 
permutations, may call one thing good and another evil, 
having a regard to the things themselves, and not wander- 
ing elsewhere, not failing in the understanding of the 
things signified, and in the rest accommodating himself to 
custom in the denomination." Having thus in this place 
set his preferred things so near to good, and mixed them 
therewith, he again says, that none of these things belongs 
at all to us, but that reason withdraws and averts us from 
all such things ; for he has written thus in his First Book 
of Exhortations. And in his Third Book of Nature he 
says, that some esteem those happy who reign and are 
rich, which is all one as if those should be reputed happy 
who make water in golden chamber-pots and wear golden 
fringes ; but to a good man the losing of his whole estate 
is but as the losing of one groat, and the being sick no 
more than if he had stumbled. Wherefore he has not 
filled virtue only, but Providence also, with these contradic- 
tions. For virtue would seem to the utmost degree sordid 
and foolish, if it should busy itself about such matters, 
and enjoin a wise man for their sake to sail to Bosphorus 
or tumble with his heels over his head. And Jupiter would 
be very ridiculous to be styled Ctesius, Epicarpius, and 
Charitodotes, because forsooth he gives the wicked golden 
chamber-pots and golden fringes, and the good such 
things as are hardly worth a groat, when through Jupiter's 
providence they become rich. And yet much more ridic- 
ulous is ApollOj if he sits to give oracles concerning 




golden fringes and chamber-pots and the recovering of a 

31. Bat they make this repugnancy yet more evident by 
their demonstration. For they say, that what may be used 
both well and ill, the same is neither good nor bad ; but. 
fools make an ill use of riches, health, and strength of 
body ; therefore none of these is good. If therefore God 
gives not virtue to men, — but honesty is eligible of itself, 

— and yet bestows on them riches and health witliout 
virtue, he confers them on those who will use them not 
well but ill, that is hurtfully, shamefully, and perniciously. 
Now, if the Gods can bestow virtue and do not, they are 
not good ; but if they cannot make men good, neither can 
they help them, for except virtue nothing is good and help- 
ful. Now to judge those who are otherwise made good 
according to virtue and strength ... is nothing to the 
purpose, for good men also judge the Gods according to 
virtue and strength ; so that they do no more aid men than 
they are aided by them. 

Now Chrysippus neither professes himself nor any one 
of his disciples and teachers to be virtuous. What then 
do they think of others, but those things which they say, 

— that they are all mad, fools, impious, transgressors of 
the laws, and in the utmost degree of misery and unhappi- 
ness'? And yet they say that our affairs, though we act 
thus miserably, are governed by the providence of the 
Gods. Now if the Gods, changing their minds, should 
desire to hurt, afflict, overthrow, and quite crush us, they 
could not put us in a worse condition than we already 
are ; as Chrysippus demonstrates that life can admit no 
greater degree either of misery or of unhappiuess ; so 
that if it had a voice, it would pronounce these words of 
Hercules : 

I am 80 full of miseries, there is 
No place to stow them in.* 

 Eurip. Here. Fur. 1245. 


Now who can imagine any assertions more repugnant to 
one another than that of Chrysippus concerning the Gods 
and that concerning men ; when he says, that the Gods do 
in the best manner possible provide for men, and yet men 
are in the worst condition imaginable ? 

32. Some of the Pythagoreans blame him for having in 
his book of Justice written concerning cocks, that they 
are usefully procreated, because they awaken us from our 
sleep, hunt out scorpions, and animate us to battle, breed- 
ing in us a certain emulation to show courage ; and yet 
that we must eat them, lest the number of chickens should 
be greater than were expedient. But he so derides those 
who blame him for this, that he has written thus concern- 
ing Jupiter the Savior and Creator, the father of justice, 
equity, and X3eace, in his Third Book of the Gods: "As 
cities overcharged with too great a number of citizens send 
forth colonies into other places and make war upon some, 
so does God give the beginnings of corruption." And he 
brings in Euripides for a witness, with others who say, 
that the Trojan war was caused by the Gods, to exhaust 
the multitude of men. 

But letting pass their other absurdities (for our design is 
not to enquire what they have said amiss, but only what 
they have said dissonantly to themselves), consider how 
he always attributes to the Gods specious and kind appel- 
lations, but at the same time cruel, barbarous, and Gala- 
tian deeds. For those so great slaughters and carnages, 
as were the productions of the Trojan war and again of 
the Bcrsian and Peloponnesian, w^re no way like to colo- 
nies unless these men know of some cities built in hell 
and under the earth. But Chrysippus makes God like to 
Dei'otarus, the Galatian king, who having many sons, and 
being desirous to leave his kingdom and house to one of 
them, killed all the rest ; as he that cuts and prunes away 
all the other branches from the vine, that one which he 


leaves remaining may grow strong and g;reat. And yet the 
vine-dresser does this, the sprigs being slender and weak ; 
and we, to favor a bitch, take from her many of her new 
born puppies, whilst they are yet blind. But Jupiter, 
having not only suffered and seen men to grow np, but 
having also both created and increased them, plagues them 
afterwards, devising occasions of their destruction and cor- 
ruption ; whereas he should rather not have given them 
any causes and beginnings of generation. 

33. However this is but a small matter ; but that which 
follows is greater. For there is no war amongst men with- 
out vice. But sometimes the love of pleasure, sometimes 
the love of money, and sometimes the love of glory and 
rule is the cause of it. If therefore God is the author 
of wars, he must be also of sins, provoking and perverting 
men. And yet himself says in his treatise of Judgment 
and his Second Book of the Gods, that it is no way ra- 
tional to say that the Divinity is in any respect the cause 
of dishonesty. For as the law can in no way be the cause 
of transgression, so neither can the Gods of being impious ; 
therefore neither is it rational that they should be the 
causes of any thing that is filthy. What therefore can be 
more filthy to men than the mutual killing of one another ? 
— to which Chrysippus says that God gives beginnings. 
But some one perhaps will say, that he elsewhere praises 
FiUripides for saying. 

If Gods do aught dishonest, they're no Gods ; 

and again, 

'Tis a most easy thing t' accuse the Gods ; * 

as if we were now doing any thing else than setting down 
such words and sentences of his as are repugnant to one 

34. Yet that very thing which is now praised may be 

* From the Bellerophontes of Euripides, Frag. 294 ; and the Archclaus, Frag. 


objected, not once or twice or thrice, but even ten thousand 
times, against Chrysippus : 

'Tis a most easy thing t' accuse the Gods. 

For first having in his book of Nature compared the eter- 
nity of motion to a drink made of divers species confusedly 
mixed together, turning and jumbling the things that are 
made, some this way, others that way, he goes on thus : 
" Now the administration of the universe proceeding in 
this manner, it is of necessity we should be in the condi- 
tion we are, whether contrary to our own nature we are 
sick or maimed, or whether we are grammarians or musi- 
cians." And again a little after, " According to this rea- 
son we shall say the like of our virtue and vice, and 
generally of arts or the ignorance of arts, as I have said." 
And a little after, taking away all ambiguity, he says : 
" For no particular thing, not even the least, can be other- 
wise than according to common Nature and its reason." 
But that common Nature and the common reason of Na- 
ture are with him Fate and Providence and Jupiter, is not 
unknown even to the antipodes. For these things are 
everywhere inculcated by the Stoics ; and Chrysippus af- 
firms that Homer said very well, 

Jove's purposes were ripening,* 

having respect to Fate and the Nature of the universe, ac- 
cording to which every thing is governed. How then do 
these agree, both that God is no way the cause of any dis- 
honest thing, and again, that not even the least thing im- 
aginable can be otherwise done than according to common 
Nature and its reason ? For amongst all thinsrs that are 
done, there must of necessity be also dishonest things at- 
tributed to the Gods. And though Epicurus indeed turns 
himself every way, and studies artifices, devising how to 
deliver and set loose our voluntary free will from this 

* II. I. 5. 


eternal motion, that he may not leave vice irreprehensible ; 
yet Chrysippus gives vice a most absolute liberty, as being 
done not only of necessity or according to Fate, but also 
accorduig to the reason of God and best Nature. And 
these things are yet farther seen in what he says after- 
wards, being thus word for word : " For common Nature 
extending to all things, it will be of necessity that every 
thing, howsoever done in the whole bv in any one soever 
of its parts, must be done according to this common Nature 
and its reason, proceeding on regularly without any im- 
pediment. For there is nothing without that can hinder 
the administration, nor is there any of the parts that can 
be moved or habituated otherwise than according to com- 
mon Nature." What then are these habits and motions of 
the parts ? It is manifest, that the habits are vices and 
diseases, covetousness, luxury, ambition, cowardice, injus- 
tice ; and that the motions are adulteries, thefts, treasons, 
murders, parricides. Of these Chrysippus thinks, that 
no one, either little or great, is contrary to the reason of 
Jupiter, or to his law, justice, and providence; so neither 
is the transgressing of the law done against the law, nor 
the acting unjustly against justice, nor the committing of 
sin against Providence. 

35. And yet he says, that God punishes vice, and does 
many things for the chastising of the wicked. And in 
his Second Book of the Gods he says, that many adversi- 
ties sometimes befall the good, not as they do the wicked, 
for punishment, but according to another dispensation, as 
it is in cities. And again in these words : " First we are 
to understand of evils in like manner as has been said 
before : then, that these things are distributed according 
to the reason of Jupiter, whether for punishment, or ac- 
cording to some other dispensation, having in some sort 
respect to the universe." This tlierefore is indeed severe, 
that wickedness is both done and punished according to 


the reason of Jupiter. But he aggravates this contradic- 
tioii in his Second Book of Nature, writing thus : " Vice, 
in reference to grievous accidents, has a certain reason of 
its own. For it is also in some sort according to the rea- 
son of Nature, and, as I may so say, is not wholly useless 
in respect of the universe. For otherwise also there would 
not be any good." Thus does he reprehend those that 
dispute indifferently t)n both sides, who, out of a desire to 
say something wholly singular and more exquisite concern- I 
ing every thing, affirms, that men do not un profitably cut 
purses, calumniate, and play madmen, and that it is not 
unprofitable there should be unprofitable, hurtful, and un- 
happy persons. What manner of God then is Jupiter, — 
I mean Chrysippus's Jupiter, — who punishes an act done 
neither willingly' nor unprofitably ] For vice is indeed, 
according to Chrysippus's discourse, wholly reprehensible ; 
but Jupiter is to be blamed, whether he has made vice 
which is an unprofitable thing, or, having made it not un 
profitable, punishes it. 

36. Again, in his First Book of Justice, having spoken 
of the Gods as resisting the injustices of some, he says 

" But wholly to take away vice is neither possible nor ex- fll 
pedient." Whether it were not better that law-breaking, 
injustice, and folly should be taken away, is not the design 
of this present discourse to enquire. But he himself, as 
much as in him lies, by his philosophy taking away vice, 
which it is not expedient to take away, does something re- M 
pugnant both to reason and God. Besides this, saying 
that God resists some injustices, he again declares plainly 
the impiety of sins. 

37. Having often written that there is nothing repre- 
hensible, nothing to be complained of in the world, all 
things being finished according to a most excellent nature, 
he again elsewhere leaves certain negligences to be rep- 
rehended, and those not concerning small or base matters. 



For having in his Third Book of Substance related that 
some such things befall honest and good men, he says : 
*' Is it because some things are not regarded, as in great 
families some bran — yea, and some grains of corn also — 
are scattered, the generality being nevertheless well ordered ; 
or is it that there are evil Genii set over those things in 
which there are real and faulty negligence ? " And he 
also affirms that there is much necessity intermixed. I let 
pass, how inconsiderate it is to compare such accidents be- 
falling honest and good men, as were the condemnation of 
Socrates, the burning of Pythagoras, whilst he was yet 
living, by the Cyloneans, the putting to death — and that 
with torture — of Zeno by the tyrant Demylus, and of 
Antiphon by Dionysius, with the letting of bran fall. But 
that there should be evil Genii placed by Providence over 
such charges, — how can it but be a reproach to God, as 
it would be to a king, to commit the administration of his 
provinces to evil and rash governors and captains, and 
suffer the best of his subjects to be despised and ill-treated 
by them? And furthermore, if there is much necessity 
mixed amongst affairs, then God has not power over them 
all, nor are they all administered according to his reason. 

38. He contends much against Epicurus and those that 
take away providence from the conceptions we have of the 
Gods, whom we esteem beneficial and gracious to men. 
And these things being frequently said by them, there is 
no necessity of setting down the words. Yet all do not 
conceive the Gods to be good and favorable to us. For 
see what the Jews and Syrians think of the Gods ; see 
also with how much superstition the poets are filled. But 
there is not any one, in a manner to speak of, that imag- 
ines God to be corruptible or to have been born. And to 
omit all others, Antipater the Tarsian, in his book of the 
Gods writes thus, word for word : " At the beginning of 
our discourse we will briefly repeat the opinion we have 

vnr.. IV. * 80 



concerning God. We understand therefore God to be an 
animal, blessed and incorruptible, and beneficial to men." 
And then expounding every one of these terms he says : 
" And indeed all men esteem the Gods to be incorrupti- 
ble." Chrysippus therefore is, according to Antipater, 
not one of " all men ; " for he thinks none of the Gods, ex- 
cept Fire, to be incorruptible, but that they all equally were 
born and will die. These things are, in a manner, every- 
where said by him. But I will set down his words out of 
his Third Book of the Gods : " It is otherwise with the 
Gods. For some of them are born and corruptible, but 
others not born. And to demonstrate these things from 
the beginning will be more fit for a treatise of Nature. 
For the Sun, the Moon, and other Gods who are of a like 
nature, were begotten ; but Jupiter is eternal." And 
again going on : " But the like will be said concerning dy- 
ing and being born, both concerning the other Gods and 
Jupiter. For they indeed are corruptible, but his parts 
incorruptible." With these I compare a few of the things 
said by Antipater : " Whosoever they are that take away 
from the Gods beneficence, they attack in some part our 
preconception of them ; and according to the same reason 
they also do this, who think they participate of generation 
and corruption." If then he who esteems the Gods cor- 
ruptible is equally absurd with him who thinks them not 
to be provident and gracious to men, Chrysippus is no less 
in an error than Epicurus. For one of them deprives the 
Gods of beneficence, the other of incorruptibility. 

39. And moreover, Chrysippus, in his Third Book of 
the Gods treating of the other Gods being nourished, says 
thus : " The other Gods indeed use nourishment, being 
equally sustained by it ; but Jupiter and the World are sus- 
tained after another manner from those who are consumed 
and were engendered by fire." Here indeed he declares, 
that all the other Gods are nourished except the World and 


Jupiter; but in his First Book of Providence he says. 
" Jupiter increases till he has consumed all things into him- 
self. For since death is the separation of the soul from 
the body, and the soul of the World is not indeed separated, 
but increases continually till it has consumed all matter into 
itself, it is not to be said that the World dies." Who can 
therefore appear to speak things more contradictory to him- 
self than he who says that the same God is now nourished 
and again not nourished 1 Nor is there any need of gather- 
ing this by argument ; for himself has plainly written in 
the same place : " But the World alone is said to be self- 
sufficient, because it alone has in itself all things it stands 
in need of, and is nourished and augmented of itself, the 
other parts being mutually changed into one another." He 
is then repugnant to himself, not only by declaring in one 
place that all the Gods are nourished except the World and 
Jupiter, and saying in another, that the World also is 
nourished ; but much more, when he affirms that the World 
increases by nourishing itself. Now the contrary had been 
much more probable, to wit, that the World alone does not 
increase, having its own destruction for its food ; but that 
addition and increase are incident to the other Gods, who 
are nourished from without, and the World is rather con- 
sumed into them, if so it is that the World feeds on itself, 
and they always receive something and are nourished from 

40. Secondly, the conception of the Gods contains in 
it felicity, blessedness, and self-perfection. Wherefore also 
Euripides is commended for saying : 

For God, if truly God, does nothing want, 
And all these speeches are but poets' cant.* 

But Chrysippus in the places I have alleged says, that the 
World only is self-sufficient, because this alone has in itself 
all things it needs. What then follows from this, that the 

* Hercules Furens, 1346 



World alone is self-sufficient] That neither the Sun, Moon, 
nor any other of the Gods is self-sufficient, and not being 
self-sufficient, they cannot be happy or blessed. 

41. He says, that the infant in the womb is nourished by 
Nature, like a plant ; but when it is brought forth, being 
cooled and hardened by the air, it changes its spirit and 
becomes an animal ; whence the soid is not unfitly named 
Psyche because of this refrigeration (\pvxBiv). But again he 
esteems the soul the more subtile and fine spirit of Nature, 
therein contradicting himself; for how can a subtile thing 
be made of a gross one, and be rarefied by refrigeration 
and condensation? And what is more, how does he, declar- 
ing an animal to be made by refrigeration, think the sun 
to be animated, which is of fire and made of an exhalation 
changed into fire ] For he says in his Third Book of Na- 
ture : " Now the change of fire is such, that it is turned 
by the air into water ; and the earth subsiding from this, 
the air exhales ; the air being subtilized, the ether is pro- 
duced round about it; and the stars are, with the sun, 
kindled from the sea." Now what is more contrary to 
kindling than refrigeration, or to rarefaction than conden- 
sation '? For the one makes water and earth of fire and air, 
and the other changes that which is moist and earthy into ] 
fire and air. But yet in one place he makes kindling, in 
another cooling, to be the beginning of animation. And 
he moreover says, that when the inflammation is through- 
out, it lives and is an animal, but being again extinct and 
thickened, it is turned into water and earth and corporeity. 
Now in his First Book of Providence he says : " For the 
v^orld, indeed, being wholly set on fire, is presently also 
the soul and guide of itself; but when it is changed into 
moisture, and has changed the soul remaining within it in 
some sort into a body and soul, so as to consist of these 
two, it is then after another manner." Here, forsooth, he 
plainly says, that the inanimate parts of the world are by 


inflammation turned into an animated thing, and that again 
by extinction the soul is relaxed and moistened, being 
changed into corporeity. He seems therefore very absurd, 
one while by refrigeration making animals of senseless 
things, and again, by the same changing the greatest part 
of the world's soul into senseless and inanimate things. 

But besides this, his discourse concerning the generation 
of the soul has a demonstration contrary to his own 
opinion ; for he says, that the soul is generated when the 
infant is already brought forth, the spirit being changed by 
refrigeration, as by hardening. Now for the soul's being 
engendered, and that after. the birth, he chiefly uses this 
demonstration, that the children are for the most part in 
manners and inclinations like to their parents. Now the 
repugnancy of these things is evident. For it is not pos- 
sible that the soul, which is not generated till after the 
birth, should have its inclination before the birth ; or it 
will fall out that the soul is like before it is generated ; 
that is, it will be in likeness, and yet not be, because it is 
not yet generated. But if any one says that, the likeness 
being bred in the tempers of the bodies, the souls are 
changed when they are generated, he destroys the argu- 
ment of the soul's being generated. For thus it may come 
to pass, that the soul, though not generated, may at its 
entrance into the body be changed by the mixture of like- 

42. He says sometimes, that the air is light and mounts 
upwards, and sometimes, that it is neither heavy nor light. 
For in his Second Book of Motion he says, that the fire, 
being without gravity, ascends upwards, and the air like to 
that ; the water approaching more to the earth, and the air 
to the fire. But in his Physical Arts he inclines to the 
other opinion, that the air of itself has neither gravity nor 

43. He says that the air is by nature dark, and uses this 


as an argument of its being also the first cold ; for that iti 
darkness is opposite to the brightness, and its coldness to 
the heat of fire. Moving this in his First Book of Natural 
Questions, he again in his treatise of Habits says, that 
habits are nothing else but airs ; for bodies are contained 
by these, and the cause that every one of the bodies con 
tained in any habit is such as it is, is the containing air, 
which they call in iron hardness, in stone solidness, in 
silver Avhiteness. These words have in them much absurd- 
ity and contradiction. For if the air remains such as it is 
of its own nature, how comes black, in that which is not 
white, to be made whiteness ; and soft, in that which is not 
hard, to be made hardness ; and rare, in that which is 
not thick, to be made thickness ] But if, being mixed with 
these, it is altered and made like to them, how is it a habit 
or power or cause of these things by which it is subdued ? 
For such a change, by which it loses its own qualities, is 
the property of a patient, not of an agent, and not of a 
thing containing, but of a thing Lmguishing. Yet they 
everywhere affirm, that matter, being of its own nature idle 
and motionless, is subjected to qualities, and that the quali- 
ties are spirits, which, being also aerial tensions, give a 
form and figure to every part of matter to which tliey ad- 
here. These things they cannot rationally say, supposing 
the air to be such as they affirm it. For if it is a habit 
and tension, it will assimilate every body to itself, so that it 
shall be black and soft. But if by the mixture with these 
things it receives forms contrary to those it has, it will be 
in some sort the matter, and not the cause or power of 

44. It is often said by Chrysippus, that there is without 
the world an infinite vacuum, and that this infinity has 
neither beginning, middle, nor end. And by this the Stoics 
chiefly refute that spontaneous motion of the atoms down- 
ward, which is taught by Epicurus ; there not being in 



infinity any difference according to which one thing is 
thought to be above, another below. But in his Fourth 
Book of Things Possible, having supposed a certain middle 
place and middle region, he says that the world is situated 
there. The words are these : " Wherefore, if it is to be 
said of the world that it is corruptible, this seems to want 
proof; yet nevertheless it rather appears to me to be so. 
However, its occupation of the place wherein it stands co- 
operates very much towards its seeming to be incorruptible, 
because it is in the midst ; since if it were thought to be 
anywhere else, corruption would absolutely take hold of 
it." And again, a little after : " For so also in a manner 
has essence happened eternally to possess the middle place, 
being immediately from the beginning such as it is ; so that 
both by another manner and through this chance it admits 
not any corruption, and is therefore eternal." Thes)e words 
have one apparent and visible contradiction, to wit, his 
admitting a certain middle place and middle region in 
infinity. They have also a second, more obscure indeed, 
but withal more absurd than this. For thinking that the 
world would not have remained incorruptible if its situation 
had happened to have been in any other part of the vacu- 
um, he manifestly appears to have feared lest, the parts of 
essence moving towards the middle, there should be a dis- 
solution and corruption of the world. Now this he would 
not have feared, had he not thought that bodies do by na- 
ture tend from every place towards the middle, not of 
essence, but of the region containing essence ; of which 
also he has frequently spoken, as of a thing impossible 
and contrary to Nature ; for that (as he says) there is not 
in the vacuum any difference by which bodies arc drawn 
rather this way than that way, but the construction of the 
world is the cause of motion, bodies inclining and being 
carried from every side to the centre and middle of it. It 
is sufficient to this purpose, to set down the text out of his 



Second Book of Motion ; for having discoursed, that the 
world indeed is a perfect body, but that the parts of the 
world are not perfect, because they have in some sort 
respect to the whole and are not of themselves ; and going 
forward concerning its motion, as having been framed by 
Nature to be moved by all its parts towards compaction 
and cohesion, and not towards dissolution and breaking, he 
says thus: " But the universe thus tending and being 
moved to the same point, and the parts having the same 
motion from the nature of the body, it is probable that all 
bodies have this first motion according to Nature towards 
the centre of the world, — the world being thus moved as 
regards itself, and the parts being thus moved as being its 
parts." What then ailed you, good sir (might some one 
say to him), that you have so far forgotten those words, as 
to aifirm that the world, if it had not casually possessed 
the middle place, would have been dissoluble and corrupt- 
ible T For if it is by Nature so framed as always to incline 
towards the middle, and its parts from every side tend to the 
same, into what place soever of the vacuum it should have 
been transposed, — thus containing and (as it were) embrac- 
ing itself, — it would have remained incorruptible and without 
danger of breaking. For things that are broken and dissi- 
pated suffer this by the separation and dissolution of their 
parts, every one of them hasting to its own place from that 
which it had contrary to Nature. But you, being of opin- 
ion that, if the world should have been seated in any other 
place of the vacuum, it would have been wholly liable to 
corruption, and affirming the same, and therefore asserting 
a middle in that which naturally can have no middle, — 
to wit, in that which is infinite, — have indeed dismissed 
these tensions, coherences, and inclinations, as having 
nothing available to its preservation, and attributed all the 
cause of its permanency to the possession of place. And, 
as if you were ambitious to confute yourself, to the things 


you have said before yoii join this also: "In whatsoever 
manner every one of the parts moves, being coherent to 
the rest, it is agreeable to reason that in the same also the 
whole should move by itself; yea, though we should, for 
argument's sake, imagine and suppose it to be in some 
vacuity of this world ; for as, being kept in on every side, 
it would move towards the middle, so it would continue in 
the same motion, though by way of disputation we should 
admit that there were on a sadden a vacuum round about 
it." No part then whatsoever, though encompassed by a 
vacuum, loses its inclination moving it towards the middle 
of the world ; but the world itself, if chance had not pre- 
pared it a place in the middle, would have lost its contain- 
ing vigor, the parts of its essence being carried some one 
way, some another. 

45. And these things indeed contain great contradictions 
to natural reason ; but this is also repugnant to the doc- 
trine concerning God and Providence, that assigning to 
them the least causes, he takes from them the most prin- 
cipal and greatest. For what is more principal than the 
permanency of the w^orld, or that its essence, united in its 
parts, is contained in itself] But this, as Chrysippus 
says, fell out casually. For if the possession of place 
is the cause of incorruptibility, and this was the pro- 
duction of chance, it is manifest that the preservation of 
the universe is a work of chance, and' not of Fate and 

46. Now, as for his doctrine of possibles, how can it but 
be repugnant to his doctrine of Fate] For if that is not 
possible which either is true or shall be true, as Diodorus 
has it, but every thing which is capable of being, though 
it never shall be, is possible, there will be many things 
possible which will never be according to invincible, in- 
violable, o,nd all-conquering Fate. And thus either Fate 
will lose its power ; or if that, as Chrysippus thinks, has 


existence, that which is susceptible of being will often fall 
out to be impossible. And every thing indeed which is 
true will be necessary, being comprehended by the prin- 
cipal of all necessities ; and every thing that is false will 
be impossible, having the greatest cause to oppose its ever 
being true. For how is it possible that he should be sus- 
ceptible of dying on the land, who is destined to die at 
sea ? And how is it possible for him who is at Megara to 
come to Athens, if he is prohibited by Fate ? 

47. But moreover, the things that are boldly asserted by 
him concerning fantasies or imaginations are very opposite 
to Fate. For desiring to show that fantasy is not of itself 
a perfect cause of consent, he says, that the Sages will 
prejudice us by imprinting false imaginations in our minds, 
if fantasies do of themselves absolutely cause consent ; for 
wise men often make use of falsity against the wicked, 
representing a probable imagination, — which is yet not 
the cause of consent, for then it would be also a cause of 
false apprehension and error. Any one therefore, trans- 
ferring these things from the wise man to Fate, may say, 
that consents are not caused by Fate ; for if they were, 
false consents and opinions and deceptions would also be 
by Fate, and men would be endamaged by Fate. Thus the 
reason which exempts the wise man from doing hurt also 
demonstrates at the same time that Fate is not the cause of 
all things. For if men neither opine nor are prejudiced 
by Fate, it is manifest also that they neither act rightly nor 
are wise nor remain firm in their sentiments nor have util- 
ity by Fate, but that there is an end of Fate's being the 
cause of all things. Now if any one shall say that Chry- 
sippus makes not Fate the absolute cause of all things, but 
only a procatarctlcal (or antecedent) one, he will again 
show that he is contradictory to himself, since he exces- 
sively praises Homer for saying of Jupiter, 



Receive whatever ill or good 
He sends to each of you ; * 

as also Euripides for these Avords, 

Jove, how can I say that wretched we, 
Poor mortals, auglit do understand ? On thee 
We all depend, and notliing can transact, 
But as thy sacred wisdom shall enact.t 

And himself writes many things agreeable to these. In 
fine, he says that nothing, be it never so little, either rests 
or is moved otherwise than according to the reason of Ju- 
piter, which is the same thing with Fate. Moreover, the 
antecedent cause is weaker than the absolute one, and 
attains not to its effect when it is subdued by others tliat 
rise up against it. But he himself, declaring Fate to be an 
invincible, unimpeachable, and inflexible cause, calls it 
Atropos, J Adrasteia, § Necessity, and Pepromene (as put- 
ting a limit to all things). Whether then shall we say, that 
neither consents nor virtues nor vices nor doing well nor 
doing ill is in our power 1 Or shall we affirm, that Fate is 
deficient, that terminating destiny is unable to determine, 
and that the motions and habits of Jupiter cannot accom- 
plish 1 For the one of these two consequences will follow 
from Fate's being an absolute, the other from its being only 
antecedent cause. For if it is an absolute cause, it takes 
away our free will and leaves nothing in our power ; and 
if it is only antecedent, it loses its being unimpeachable 
and effectual. For not once or ten times, but everywhere, 
especially in his Physics, he has written, that there are 
many obstacles and impediments to particular natures and 
motions, but none to that of the universe. And how can 
the motion of the universe, extending as it does to particu- 
lar ones, be undisturbed and unimpeached, if these are 
stopped and hindered 1 For neither can the nature of man 

* II. XV. 109. The words " or good " arc not found in Homer. (G.) 
t Eurip. Suppliants, 734. $ That is, Unchangeable. 

§ That is, Unavoidable. 


be free from impediment, if that of the foot or hand is not 
so ; nor can the motion of a ship but be hindered, if there 
are any obstacles about the sails or the operation of the 

Besides all this, if the fantasies are not according to Fate, 
neither are they causes of consents ; but if, because it im- 
prints fantasies leading to consent, the consents are said to 
be according to Fate, how is it not contrary to itself, im- 
printing in the greatest matters different imaginations and 
such as draw the understanding contrary ways 1 For (they 
say) those who adhere to one of them, and withhold not 
their consent, do amiss : if they yield to obscure things, 
they stumble ; if to false, they are deceived ; if to such as 
are not commonly comprehended, they opine. And yet one 
of these three is of necessity, — either that every fantasy 
is not the work of Fate, or that every receipt and consent 
of fantasy is faultless, or that Fate itself is not irreprehen- 
sible. For I do not know how it can be blameless, pro 
posing to us such fantasies that not the resisting or going 
against them, but the following and yielding to them, is 
blamablc. Moreover, both Clirysippus and Antipater, in 
their disputes against the Academics, take not a little pains 
to prove that we neither act nor are incited without con- 
sent, saying, that they build on fictions and false supposi- 
tions who think that, a proper fantasy being presented, we 
are presently incited, without having either yielded or con- 
sented. Again, Chrysippus says, that God imprints in us 
false imaginations, as does also the wise man ; not that 
they would have us consent or yield to them, but only that 
we should act and be incited with regard to that which ap- 
pears ; but we, being evil, do through infirmity consent to 
such fantasies. Now the perplexity and discrepancy of 
these discourses among themselves are not very difficult to 
be discerned. For he that would not have men consent 
but only act according to the fantasies which he presents 


unto them — whether he be God or a wise man — knows 
that the fantasies are sufficient for acting, and that consents 
are superfluous. For if, knowing that the imagination 
gives us not an instinct to work without consent, lie min- 
isters to us false and probable fantasies, he is the voluntary 
cause of our falling and erring by assenting to incompre* 
heusibl3 things. 




1. I HAPPENED not long since, dear Serapion, on certain 
not unelegant verses, which Dicaearchus supposes Euri- 
pides to have spoken to King Archelaus : 

I'm poor, you ricli, I'll therefore nothing give ; 
Lest me or fool or beggar you believe. 

For he who out of his little estate makes small presents to 
those that have great- possessions does them no pleasure ; 
nay, being not believed to give even that little for nothing, 
he incurs the suspicion of being of a sordid and ungenerous 
disposition. But since pecuniary presents are both in 
bounty and beauty far inferior to such as proceed from 
learning and wisdom, it is honorable both to make such 
presents, and at our giving them, to desire suitable returns 
from the receivers. I therefore, sending to you, — and 
through you to our friends in those parts, — as a first-fruit 
offering, some discourses concerning the Pythian affairs, 
confess that I do in requital expect others, both more and 
better, from you, as being persons conversant in a great 
city, and enjoying more leisure amongst many books and 
conferences of all sorts. For indeed our good Apollo 
seems to cure and solve such difficulties as occur in the 
ordinary management of our life, by giving his oracles to 
those that resort to him ; but as for those which concern 


learning, h e l eaves and proposes them to that faculty of the 
soul which is naturally addicted to the study of philosophy, 
imprinting in it a desire leading to truth ; as is manifest 
hoth in many other matters, and in the consecration of this 
inscription Ef. For it is not probable, that it was by chance 
or by a lottery (as it were) of letters that this word alone 
was placed in the principal seat in the God's temple, and 
received the dignity of a sacred donary and spectacle ; but 
it is highly credible that those who at the beginning philos- 
ophized concerning this God gave it that station, either as 
seeing it in some peculiar and extraordinary power, or 
using it as a symbol to signify some other thing worthy of 
our attention. 

Having therefore often formerly declined and avoided 
this discourse, when proposed in the school, I was lately 
surprised by my own children as I was debating with cer- 
tain strangers, who were on their departure out of Delphi, 
so that I could not in civility hold them in suspense nor 
yet refuse discoursing with them, since they were exceed- 
ing earnest to hear something. Being therefore set down 
by the temple, I began myself to search into some things, 
and to ask them concerning others, being by the place and 
the very talk put in mind of those things we had heretof- 
fore, when Nero passed through these parts, heard Ammo- 
nius and some others discourse ; the same difficulty having 
been then likewise in this very place propounded. 

2. Since therefore this God is no less a philosopher than 
ajrophet, Ammonius seemed to all of us rightly to apply 
every one of his names to this purpose, and to teach that 
he is Pythius (or a qiiestionist) to those who begin to learn 
and enquire ; Delius and Phanaeus (or a manlfester and 
lorov)er) to those to whom somewhat of the truth is already 
manifest and shines forth ; Ismenius (or Icnowlng) to those 
that have acquired knowledge ; and Leschenorius (or dis- 
coursing) when they practise and enjoy their science, mak- 



ing use of it to discourse and philosophize with one 
another. Now, forasmuch as to philosophize implies to 
enquire, to wonder, and to doubt, it is probable (he said) 
that many of the things that concern God are not unfitly 
concealed under enigmas, and require that one should ask 
the reason why, and seek to be instructed in the causes, 
— as, why of all wood fir only is burnt in the eternal fire, 
why the laurel only is used in fumigations, why there are 
erected but two statues of the Fates, they being every- 
where else thought to be three, why no woman is per- 1 
mitted to have access to the oracle, what is the reason of 
the tripod, and other such like things, Avhich, being pro- 
posed to those who are not altogether irrational and soul- 
less, allure and incite them to consider, hear, and discourse 
something about them. And do but behold how many 
questions these inscriptions, " Know thyself" and " Nothing 
too much," have set afoot amongst the philosophers, and 
what a multitude of discourses has sprung up from each of 
them, as from a seed; than neither of which, I think the 
matter now in question to be less fruitful. 

3. Ammonius having spoken thus, Lamprias the Del- 
phian said : The reason indeed which we have heard of 
this is plain and very short ; for they say that those Sages, 
who Avere by some called Sophi sters, were but five, Chile, 
Thales, Solon, Bias, and Pittacus. But after that Cleobulus 
the tyrant of the Lindians, and Periander the Corinthian, 
though wholly destitute of virtue and wisdom, had by 
their power, friends, and courtesy forced a reputation, they 
usurped the name of Sages, and set forth and dispersed 
all over Greece certain sentences and sayings, not unlike 
to those which had been spoken by the five former wise 
men. The five, however, being discontented at this, would 
not reprove their arrogancy, nor openly contest and enter 
into quarrels for glory with men of so great power ; but 
assembling here together, and consulting with one another, 


they consecrated the letter E, which is in the order of the 
alphabet the fifth, and signifies five in number, protesting 
of themselves before the God that they were but five, and 
rejecting and abdicating the sixth and seventh as not be- 
longing to them. Now that these things are not spoken 
beside the cushion, any one might understand who should 
have heard those who have care of the temple naming the 
golden ET the EI of Livia, the wife of Augustus Caesar ; 
and the brazen one the EI of the Athenians ; but the fin^^t 
and ancientest of all, which is the wooden one, they call 
the EI of the Sages, as not being of any one, but the 
common dedication of them all. 

4. At this Ammonius gently smiled, supposing Lamprias 
to have delivered an opinion of his own, but to have 
feigned that he had heard the story from others, lest he 
might be obliged to give an account of it. But another 
of those that were present said that this had some affinity 
with what a certain Chaldean stranger had lately babbled, 
to wit, that there are in the alphabet seven letters render- 
ing a perfect sound of themselves, and in the heavens 
seven stars moved by their own proper motion, not bound 
or linked to that of the others ; that E is from the begin- 
ning the second in order of the vowels, and the sun the 
second of the planets, or next to the moon, and that the 
Greeks do unanimously (so to speak) repute Apollo to be 
the same with the sun. But these things, said he, wholly 
savor of his counting-table and his trifling. But Lamprias, 
it seems, was not sensible of his having stirred up all 
those of the temple against his discourse. For there was 
not a man of the Delphians who knew any thing of what 
he said ; but they all alleged the common and cu rrent 
opinion, holding that neither the sight nor the sound of 
this writing, but the word alone as it was written, con- 
tained some symbol or secret signification. 

5. For the syllable EI (if) is, as the Delphians conceive 

VOL IV. 81 


it, and as Nicander the priest (who was then present) also] 
said, a conveyance and form of prayer to the God, and 
has the leading place in the questions of those who at 
every turn use it, asking if they shall overcome, if they 
shall marry, if it is convenient to go to sea, if to till the 
ground, if to travel. And the wise God, bidding adieu to 
the logicians, who think nothing at all can be made of 
this particle EI and any clause following it, understands 
and admits all interrogations annexed to it. as real things. 1 1 
Now, because it is proper for us to consult him as a prophet, 
and common to pray to him as a God, they suppose that 
this word has no less a precatory than an interrogator}^ 
power. For every one who prays or wishes says, eI yag 
aqjeXoVf O if I were, &c. And Archilochus has also this 
expression : 

If I might be so happy as to touch 
My Neobule's hand. 

And they say that the second syllable in the word eiOs is 
redundant like dijv in this of Sophron, "Jfxa Tt'xvcov O^jv dsvofxeva, 
desiring also children ; and in this of Homer, '.Q,- <>r^v aov 
eyco Xvaco (it'vog, as I will also foil thy strength ; but in the 
word EI there is sufficiently declared an optative power. 

6. Nicander having delivered these words, our friend 
Theon, whom you know, asked Ammonius if he might 
have liberty to plead for logic, which was so highly in- 
jured. And Ammonius bidding him speak and defend it, fl 
he said : Now that this God is a most expert logician many 
of his oracles show ; for it is, to wit, the part of the same 
artist to dissolve and frame ambiguities. Moreover, as 
Plato said, when an oracle was given to the Greeks that 
they should double the altar in Delos, which is a work of 
the utmost perfection in geometry, that the God did not 
order the doing of that very thing, but commanded the 
Greeks to apply themselves to geometry ; so the same God, 
by giving ambiguous oracles, honors and recommends logic. 


as necessary to those who desire to understand him aright. 
Now this conjunction EI, or if^ has a very great efficacy in 
logic, as forming the jnost rational proposition ; for how 
can it be otherwise, since the very brutes have indeed the 
knowledge of the substance of things, but to m an only 
has Nature given the consideration and judgment of conse- 
quence I For that there is both day and light, wolves and 
dogs and birds are sensible. But that if it is day there 
must be light, no other animal understands but man, who 
only has the conception of antecedent and consequent, of 
the significance and connection of these things with one 
another, and of their habitude and difference, from which 
demonstrations take their principal beginnings. Now since 
philosophy is conversant about truth, since the light of 
truth is demonstration, and tlie beginning of demonstration 
this connection of propositions ; the faculty which contains 
and effects this was by wise men, with good reason, con- 
secrated to the God who most of all loves truth. Now 
the God indeed is a prophet, and the art of prophesying 
is a divination concerning the future from things that are 
present and past. For neither is the original of any thing 
without a cause, nor the foreknowledge of any thing with- 
out reason. But since all things that are done follow and 
are connected to those that have been done, and those that 
shall be done to those that are done, according to the pro- 
gress proceeding from the beginning to the end ; he who 
knows how to look into the causes of this together, and 
naturally connect them one with another, knows also and 

What things now are, sliall be, or e'er have been.* 

And Homer indeed excellently well places first things that 
are present, and afterwards what is future and past. For 
by the very nature of the connection the argument is based 
on that which now is. Thus, " if this is, that preceded ; " 

* II. I. 70. 


and again, " if this is, that shall be." For the knowledge of 
the consequence is, as has been said, an artificial and 
rational thing ; but sense gives the assumption to reason. 
"Whence (though it may seem indecent to say it) I will not 
be afraid to aver this, that the^ tripod of tru t h is reason, 
which recognizes the dependence of the consequent on 
the antecedent, and then, assuming the reality of the ante- 
cedent, infers the conclusion of the demonstration. If then 
the Pythian Apollo delights in music, and is pleased with 
the singing of swans and the harmony of the lute, what 1^ 
wonder is it that, for the sake of logic, he embraces and 
loves this argumentative particle, which he sees the philoso- 
phers so much and so frequently to use 1 Hercules indeed, 
not having yet unbound Prometheus, nor conversed with 
the sophisters that were with Chiron and Atlas, but being 
still a young man and a plain Boeotian, at first abolished 
logic and derided this word EI; but afterwards he seemed 
by force to have seized on the tripod, and contended with ; 
our God himself for the pre-eminence in this art ; for. being 
grown up in age, he appeared to be the most expert both 
in divination and logic. 

7. Theon having ended his speech, I think it was Eu- 
strophus the Athenian who said to us : Do you not see 
how valiantly Tiieon vindicates logic, having, in a manner, 
got on the lion's skin? So it is not right even for us — 
who comprehensively place all the affairs, nature, and prin- 
ciples of things both divine and human in number, and 
make it most especially the author and lord of honest and 
estimable things — to be at quiet, but we must willingly 
offer the first-fruits of our dear mathematics to the God ; 
since we think that this letter E does not of itself differ 
from the other letters either in power, figure, or expression, 
but that it has been preferred as being the sign of that 
great number which has an influence over all things, 
called the Quinary (or PemptasJ^ from which the Sages 


have expressed the art of numbering by the verb n^imtd'CHv 
(signifying to account hy Jives). Now Eustrophus spake 
these tilings to us, not in jest, but because I did at that 
time studiously apply myself to the mathematics, and per- 
haps also in every thing to honor that saying, " Nothing 
too much," as having been conversant in the Academy. 

8. I answered therefore that Eustrophus has excellently 
solved the difficulty by number. For (said I) since all 
number is distributed into even and odd, unity is in efficacy 
common to them both, — for that being added to an even 
number, it makes it odd, and to an odd, it mnkes it even, 
two constituting the beginning of the even, and three of 
the ^dd. Now the number of five, composed of these 
two, is deservedly honored, as being the first compound 
made of the first simple numbers, and is called the mar- 
riage, for the resemblance of the odd with the male, and 
the even with the female. For in the divisions of the 
numbers into equal parts, the even, being wholly separated, 
leaves a certain capacious beginning and space in itself ; 
but in the odd, suffering the same thing, there always 
remains a middle, of generative distribution, by which it is 
more fruitful than the other, and being mixed is a,lwaj]3 
master, ne ver mastered. For by the mixture of both, 
even and odd together, there is never produced an even 
number but always an odd. But which is more, either of 
them added to and compounded with itself shows the dif- 
I ference ; for no even joined with another even ever pro- 
duced an odd, or went forth of its proper nature, being 
through weakness unable to generate another and imper- 
fect. But odd numbers mixed with odd do, through tiicir 
being every way fruitful, produce many even ones. Time 
does not now permit us to set down the other powers and 
differences of numbers. Therefore have the Pythago- 
reans, through a certain resemblance, said that five is the 
marriage of the first male and the first female number. This 


also is it for which it is called Nature, by the multiplica- 
tion of itself determining again into itself For as Nature, 
taking a grain of wheat for seed and diffusing it, produces 
many forms and species between, by which she brings her 
work to an end, but at last she shows again a grain of 
wheat, restoring the beginning in the end of all ; so, while 
the rest of the numbers, when they are multiplied into 
others, terminate by the increase only those of five and 
six, multiplied by themselves, bring back and preserve 
themselves. For six times six makes thirty-six, and five 
times five makes twenty-five. And again, six does this 
once, and only after one manner, to wit, when it is squared. 
But this indeed befalls five both by multiplication and by 
composition with itself, to which being added, it alterna- 
tively makes itself and ten ; and this as far as all number 
can extend, this number imitating the beginning or first 
Cause which governs the universe. For as that first Cause, 
preserving the world by itself, does reciprocally perfect 
itself by the world, as Ileraclitus says of fire. 

Fire turns to all things, and all things to i3ro ; 


and as money is changed for gold, and gold for money ; 
the congress of five with itself is framed by Nature to pro- 
duce nothing imperfect or strange, but has limited changes ; 
for it either generates itself or ten, that is, either what is 
proper to itself, or what is perfect. 

9. Now if any one shall say. What is all this to Apollo? 
we will answer, that it concerns not Apollo only, but Bac- 
chus also, who has no less to do with Delphi than Apollo 
himself. For we have heard the divines, partly in verse 
partly in prose, saying and singing, that the God is of his 
own nature incorruptible and eternal, but yet, tlirough a 
certain fatal decree and reason, suffers changes of himself, 
having sometimes his nature kindled into a tire, and making 
all things alike, and otherwhiles becoming various, in dif- 


ferent shapes, passions, and powers, like unto the World, 
and is named by this best-known of names. But the wiser, 
concealing from the vulgar the change into fire, call him 
both Apollo from his unity * and Phoebus from his purity 
and unpollutedness. But as for the passion and change of 
his conversion into winds, water, earth, stars, and the vari- 
ous kinds of plants and animals, and its order and dispo- 
sition, this they obscurely represent as a certain distraction 
and dismembering ; and they now call him Dionysus, Za- 
greus, Nyctelius, and Isodaetes, exhibiting and chanting 
forth certain corruptions, disparitions, deaths, and resurrec- 
tions, which are all riddles and fables suited to the said 
mutations. To Dionysus or Bacchus they sing dithyrambic 
verses, full of passions and change, joined with a certain 
wandering and agitation backwards and forwards ; for, as 
Aeschylus says. 

The dithyramb, whose sounds are dissonant, 
*Tis fit should wait on Bacchus. 

But to Apollo they sing the well-ordered paean a